Greg Leake emails: Hi Luke,
I have to agree with your family in respect to your beard. Soon you’ll be an Alexander Technique teacher, and naturally an inviting presence would seemingly be part of a realistic sales technique. You know, in the past I have mentioned the Hawaiian or Filipino long-sleeved white shirts for someone bound and determined to adopt the uniform. The thing I don’t believe I mentioned is that these shirts are regarded as formal wear in those tropical countries. People go to weddings and embassy parties dressed in this formal apparel. So if it was necessary to try and appear formal, my view is that these tropical shirts would be a lot more inviting and at the same time fit the qualification for being dress shirts.
I believe Rabbs has done a better job explaining your beard than others I have seen. I could understand how you might enjoy wearing the beard as an emphatic display of your Orthodox conversion in the face of a lot of Orthodox Jews who once tried to exclude you. I might have done the same thing in your place. However, I believe that your move into the Alexander Technique profession opens a new phase.
I also see that you are moving in October. Coincidentally enough, I also am moving in October. You are trying to remain in your ethnic group, and I am happy to tell you that I will be going back to mine. ‘Dillon, Texas.’ (Well, not exactly Dillon, but a place very much like it, filled with people very like those you see in Friday Night Lights.) It has been interesting and educational to have my adventures among Orthodox Judaism, but I confess that I’ll be very happy to return home to my own people. The only hats where I’m going are cowboy hats. Actually, in Texas, you do occasionally see Orthodox Jews who wear cowboy hats. I’m always grateful when I see this, and my appreciation rises. Thank God for Texas.