This week, on the “(Is It) Good for the Jews?” podcast …
LARRY ROSEN: So you’re back from Israel. What’s going on in Israel?
ERIC GOLDBRENER: Israel is happening, man. Israel is definitely happening. Tel Aviv, man, the vibe is outrageous. The energy. The restaurant scene.
LR: Let me ask you this: When you say that it’s “happening,” that tells me it’s no country for old men. The clubs! The discos! What happens if a middle-age person shows up?
EG: I was there. I’m not so young.
LR: Was it like going out to dinner in the Mission, where you look around the restaurant and everyone else is at least 20 years younger?
EG: No, no, there were some other …
LR: … elderly men?
EG: … 50-somethings out there, but you’re right, there were a lot of young people. You know we were at this one disco and it was super cool when they were playing ’70s funk.
LR: American music?
EG: American ’70s funk, but then they switched to the electronica, so we left.
LR: The EDM?
EG: Right, the electronic dance music.
LR: We only know this acronym because we have kids in their teens and 20s.
EG: (approximates a dance music beat with his mouth)
LR: (also does this until the Twilight Lounge sounds like a disco)
EG: Exactly. But it was certainly cute to watch the 20-somethings get up there and dance.
LR: I can’t even imagine! Reminds me of when we went back to New York, to Great Neck … you know Great Neck? On Long Island? As a lifelong Westerner, you may not be familiar.
EG: I know Great Neck. Sure. That’s the Old Country, baby. I got mishpachah in Great Neck.
LR: You are, after all, Jewish. We went back there in 1986, I think, right after high school, and saw my cousins. We were looking at their high school yearbooks and I was shocked.
EG: “Ramy Irving, Joseph Finkelstein …”
LR: Not only that, but all the football players were Jews! All the cheerleaders were Jews! That’s the crazy thing to me, a California guy who went to high school in Orange County, where there were about a dozen of us counting Greg Schwartz, who did play football but was in the closet, Jewish-wise.
EG: For real?
LR: No joke. Didn’t even know he was Jewish until many years later.
LR: Could’ve been German. Who knew? Had blond hair. Played football. These are not typically Jewish things.
EG: What’s your point here?
LR: My point? I guess that it’s still so wild to me to imagine this place — a disco in Tel Aviv — that’s full of beautiful, young Jews. Jews dancing! Jews in skinny jeans! Jews all over the place!
EG: They’re all Jews, but a lot of tourists are coming in.
LR: Tourists, too, but probably mostly Jews?
EG: Some Jews, yes, but you’ve got to remember, you’ve got people from all over the world. Pilgrims. Religious people. People come to Israel because it’s a tourist destination. They’ve got the beautiful beaches, the scene, the culture.
LR: But still, a lot of Jews.
EG: I’ll give you that.
LR: You’re in that disco, there’s a beautiful young woman dancing nearby, chances are good that she’s a member of the tribe just like me. Like Kyle’s cousin who has asthma and sounds like Woody Allen.
EG: Who’s Kyle?
LR: The Jewish guy on “South Park.” One more question.
EG: Fire away.
LR: You’re in Tel Aviv. Is every building white?
LR: And why is this so? Camouflage?
EG: It’s because it’s 110 degrees all the time. Any other color and you’re inviting trouble. And all the buildings, you know, are made of concrete.
LR: With walls several feet thick?
EG: Yes. This is the best material to use when it’s 110 degrees all the time.
LR: I can’t imagine this. Seriously? You’re there in March wearing your sandals and your lounging suit?
EG: No sandals, no lounging suit. It’s 110 degrees for much of the year, but right now it’s very comfortable. In the 70s.
LR: So basically, Tel Aviv is Phoenix with Jews?
EG: I think you need to go to Israel.