How Do You Tell A Bloke You Miss Him?

For many people I know, if they were to up and leave their town, they wouldn’t dearly miss anyone they’ve left behind. I find that sad. I can’t imagine it would be the same thing for 90% plus of Orthodox Jews. You just can’t live in an Orthodox community and not form tight bonds with people unless you’re a freak. You can’t live in any Jewish community as a Jew, from secular to Haredi, and not form tight bonds, unless you’re a freak.

I remember one friend of mine missed shul two weeks running and I really missed him but didn’t know how to say that. So I texted him and asked if he would be at shul on Shabbos. He texted back, “Why?” That flummoxed me. I replied, “Have not seen you for weeks.” He replied, “You taking attendance?” I was thrown and got the hell out of that conversation.

When I’ve gone to day yomi (daily Talmud class), when a guy missed one class it was noted by everyone, and if he missed two classes in a row, someone found out what was up.

As a Jew, particularly in a traditional community, you have no doubts that you matter. On a regular basis, you’re needed for a minyan or for security duty or to visit the sick or to donate. I’m sure it is similar for other tight-knit communities, but Judaism has a profound formula for living in community that is unparalleled in my experience.

In gentile life, you usually don’t socialize with people you work with, but in Jewish life, you’re much more likely to be up inside of each other’s lives.

I asked a bloke in rural Australia what was the hottest gossip in town and he said it was about which flowers were in bloom. A Jewish community, by contrast, is usually filled with excitement and passion. There’s always someone getting screwed. Oy, the tumult!

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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