Monday, May 28, 2012

Scholarship on the #14 bus in Jerusalem

I was taking the #14 bus back home from the National Library today, uncomfortably crammed into a small seat, and listening to the conversation between two people facing me, one who teaches at the Hebrew University and the other at the Schechter Institute (run by the Masorti movement, the Israeli version of the Conservative Jewish movement - religious, not political), when a young man got on the bus, dressed in a military uniform and carrying a backpack. He started to listen to the professors talking with each other and then entered into the conversation - he had a scholarly question he wanted to ask them. He asked them about how a classic work on the Pharisees by Louis Finkelstein had been received by other scholars. It turned out he had already corresponded with the Hebrew University professor on another topic and even received an answer for a paper he was writing. The two professors gave him advice and he continued talking eagerly with them.

So nice to see an eager student!


  1. Oh, that's the kid working on Finkelstein's philosophical approaches!
    I met him last Thursday in the library, and he told me this story about meeting these professors on the bus.

    Small world.

    BTW, remember me from the Hekhalot conference at Princeton?

  2. And worlds collide - I pointed Gavriel to your post, which is an endearing "only-in-Israel" moment. I had seen it pointed to by the menachem-mendel blog.

    I doubt you'd remember me, but I used to go to the RASFW gatherings years ago. Fat guy, beard, glasses, not Avram. And, well, how many people have I run into in the fannish world who are Jewish-history scholars?

    Jon Baker

  3. I wonder if someone would recognize the people in this story! Yes, I remember both of you, from very different worlds.