Living in San Francisco makes playing Jewish geography much more difficult. Besides for dealing with the average frummies negative feelings towards SF, I have to deal with most frummies thinking that SF and LA are right next to each (in a similar vein that New Yorkers thought Rochester was in some way the same thing as Westchester) Then I have to go through my entire life of moving to end up at some sort of success at Jewish geography. Here’s how I go about playing the game:
If I don’t want the conversation to end before it has even begun I have to make it a two part answer. First I have to say that I live in San Francisco, I also have to make sure to mention that it’s a black hole of Judaism and take some crack at the Gays or Liberals (better if you do both at once) and then I have to say that I’m originally from New York. Of course this makes the entire conversation that much more complicated. You see, Jewish Geography is a necessary evil of the frum community and for some people it just leads to a whole mess of things.
Once I answer that I’m orginially from New York, I have to wait until they say. “Where in New York?” I let them say it, because if I say it, it ruins things. Everyone who’s ever had a conversation with a New Yorker, hocker, sheitle macher or shadchan knows that in order to escape their clutches you should really just let them role with the punches.
Of course, my Jewish Geographical stats are that much more unique than the average person. You see, in the frum world Manhattan really isn’t the correct answer because besides for the Lower East Side and Washington Heights, frum (yeshivish or black hat types) people rarely know anyone from Manhattan. For some reason the name Malone from the Upper West Side pops up in the black hat radar, but not much else.
So in order to give those who wish to play a complicated game of Jewish Geography with me the chance to actually score some points, I always say “but I was shipped to yeshiva at an early age and by the time I was back, my old man had moved to Far Rockaway”. This accomplishes two things, first, it allows the asker (always the judgmental type who needs to prove that you are lesser than them in some way)to criticize your yeshiva, in my case a very easy thing to do. When I say Rochester, they say, Oh Chofetz Chaim and I can say, well the reject of the Chofetz Chaim system. Giving them the lead of Far Rockaway always ensures that they will know someone there and when it comes to light that unfortunately I don’t know a soul there – we can always play frum geography…which is rapid fire talk about landmarks and kosher pizza stores.