American Ignorance Of Geography Is A Beautiful Thing

Marcus writes on FB: “got asked if the four countries in Great Britain are: Scotland, Wales, Ireland & The Netherlands. For real. Almost as good as the time I was asked “Is the United Kingdom a country in Great Britain”? …. G-d bless America….”

I think this ignorance is a beautiful thing, far better than the rabid anti-Americanism that infects much of the UK. When did you last meet a Yank who was passionately anti the UK, while about one in three Brits you meet just have to let you know how much they despise America and how ignorant they think Americans are. American self-identity is not wrapped up in appearing knowledgeable about such things. I’m sure I could ask you many elementary questions about many topics, perhaps including Christian theology, and you wouldn’t have a clue, Marcus. Why not? Because they have no significance to you. So too with Americans and geography. If it has significance to them, they will know it and if not, they don’t and it is no source of insecurity. The UK has little significance to most Yanks. There is as much money to be made in knowing the components of the UK as there is in knowing the chemical composition of one’s breakfast.

Greg Leake emails:

Hi Luke,

A long time ago a Brit found out I was a Texan (I was drinking in the Union Jack Club in Hong Kong) and wanted to know if we still fought Indians. Naturally, I explained to him that this only happened on rare occasions, and then only with Comanches; that virtually 99% of Indian uprisings were history. (He went for it.)

Rabbs, I have a question that I think you are probably the preeminent person in a position to answer realistically. I have noticed that when Orthodox Jews are over 40 and divorced, it is a different ball game. As you have frequently explained, by that time children are part of the mix, and things become complicated.

Sometimes the trauma of the divorce shakes people out of their status quo, and I have noticed that they begin to travel with a different set of rules. Almost invariably, they want to hook up with someone else, and of course the first thing that they do is make the rounds of Orthodox singles. It’s not always easy. By that time the shul might have divided loyalties, some taking the side of the other spouse. I know of one case where an Orthodox man really only wears his black hat when he is specifically involved in a religious function. He is interested in the ladies, and he doesn’t automatically X out women who are not Orthodox.

In fact, a lot of the regrettably divorced are ready to try a relationship that is not Orthodox. (I have to speak carefully about all this, because, you know, I live here.) The thing is, in the back of all these people’s minds is the idea of getting into a relationship that eventually leads to an Orthodox conversion. Naturally, this is easier said than done, and a lot of people find themselves between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand they want to be remarried. On the other hand, the dating scene for the divorced is a whole different bag.

So I’m wondering what your observations are in respect to the middle-aged divorced Orthodox who is trying to get remarried and runs out of possibilities in the Orthodox community and then is open to the possibility of a relationship with a goy — with the hope in the back of his/her mind that the goy would convert. In my observation and from what I’ve been told, it can get pretty wild.

In regard to my earlier post, I just want to say that an orthodox boyfriend makes it a lot easier for a woman who wants to convert, because he is in the background to comfort her, support her, and have conversations with her about it as well. The officiating bodies may never even know that the relationship exists. Remember when your cousin hooked you up with a date for a wedding? And you told the girl something to the effect that if she were Jewish you would have been all over her. So what if she had said, “Yeah, I’m very interested in converting to Orthodox Judaism.” I think you probably could have helped out a little, and you could have asked your buddy Luke to come over and offer his assistance, and may you even have other friends who would be happy to advise, explain, console, and make things smoother.

Am I all wet? I see a lot of this.

About Luke Ford

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