I’ve long found myself annoyed with the expression that if an American Jew resides in New York, they live “in town,” but if they reside outside of New York (or maybe New Jersey), they live “out of town.” This is true even if they live in Chicago, Cleveland, or Baltimore–all of which have influential yeshivos–or if like me they live in L.A., home of the second-biggest Jewish population in the country.
It’s enough to make you want to scream. Even secular Jews are not immune to it…think of the stereotypical American Jew straight out of an episode of Seinfeld or a Woody Allen movie.
As a result of this lop-sidedness, I have tried to compensate. Any piece of fiction I’ve written that has a clear setting has taken place in either L.A. or Baltimore (my hometown)…unless it’s on another planet, which has happened twice, so far.
My eldest son, Aryeh always gets very excited reading about HIS hometown, and when I write a story set in L.A., he lets me know he approves loud and clear. Unfortunately, his disapproval can be just as vociferous. You see, my attitude has rubbed off on my son. Yesterday, he told me that he hated the library book I’d so carefully selected just for him. Why? “Because the author lives in Los Angeles, but he sets the story in New York.”
Lucky for us, he plans on being a writer (and rocket scientist, and automotive engineer, and world traveler….) himself. Expect lots of stories from him in about 15 years. They’ll all be set in L.A.