Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Top of the evening to all...

A few years back, I took a several weeks worth of training in public speaking.  I learned a great deal.  As I was getting started, the teacher and I discussed goals.  One of the questions she asked was whether I wanted to work on diction in such a way that I spoke with a Canadian accent.

My answer was no.  I said to her that I am an educated American.  It is better to sound like what I am than to attempt to learn an accent of something I am not.  It would feel fake.

Over the years, people have had increasing difficulty pinpointing my accent.  Then, very recently, people started guessing American, and clearly from the Northeast.  While I grew up in Virginia, being the child of two parents from Brooklyn has never entirely left me.

While we were in Israel, we were walking around the military cemetery on Mount Herzl.  I like the layout and serenity of it far more than Arlington, by the way.  Anyway, we were ambling through, chattering away in English.  Someone walked up to us and asked us where we lived in Canada.

(Trade secret - rabbis sometimes have to go several minutes into a conversation before we realize how we know someone.  We are very good at continuing a conversation while we figure that out.)

I assumed that I had met the man who asked us that over the course of my rabbinate.  I had not.  He said he is very good at picking out accents.

All of that leaves me wondering: what language do I speak?  What dialect of that language do I speak?

Have a good evening.


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