NYT: ‘He Thought He’d Be Your Rabbi. Now, He’ll Get You a Mortgage.’

The purpose of establishing a home is to invite everyone in.

The point of establishing Israel as a home for Jews was to allow them to bring in millions of African Muslims.

Ron Lieber writes in the New York Times:

PHILADELPHIA — Perhaps it was preordained that David Frankel would become a mortgage banker…

But his path to the industry was neither straight nor narrow. In the summers, he left for Jewish sleepaway camp, an experience that helped lead him to rabbinical school in Jerusalem, Los Angeles and New York — places where his alma mater, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, had campuses. He graduated, and while the career didn’t stick, many of the texts and values did. As best as he can tell, he is the only ordained rabbi who spends his days helping people get the right home loan…

Mr. Frankel’s own religious tradition, however, is part of what gives him pause. A concept known as Marit Ayin refers to actions that one should avoid because they look suspicious even though they are technically allowable…

Still, his faith and its teachings can’t help but inform his work. This week, Mr. Frankel and I studied a bit of Talmud (writings on Jewish law and customs) on the subject of exploitation and pricing, which seems appropriate given the heated real estate market in some parts of the country. But the reading he shared with me that inspired the most conversation was a passage from Pirkei Avot, another collection of teachings, that speaks of having a house that is “open wide.”

So what is the goal here, really, in buying a home? Gaining a sanctuary where we cordon ourselves off from the world, or establishing a gathering place where we welcome everyone in?

About Luke Ford

I’ve written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).

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