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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dr. Jon..., er, Greenspan, I presume.

I don't know about the rest of you, but for most of my life, whenever read or heard the word 'dentist' I usually pictured a slightly nebby guy (wearing a cardigan sweater, chinos and sensible shoes), who went the DDS route after college to make his mother proud, as well as to assure a nice, secure 'parnosa' (a living) for himself and his family. 

In my mind's eye, such a Mr. Roger-esque figure probably opted not to go to medical school because of the insane working hours and/or to avoid being abused as in intern. Yeah, I know... this sort of generalization is bad from a number of perspectives.  So sue me.

Anyway, that's what I used to think when I read or heard the word 'dentist'.  Not so much anymore since I became friends with someone during my university days who completely defies the stereotype. 

I've written about him here and here, but I just stumbled on a reprint of an article about my friend/dentist/Jewish adventurist, Dr. Ari Greenspan, and felt the need to share (you know me... I'm a giver!).  The article provides a really neat glimpse of just one of this incredible guy's interests/exploits. 

Like some Jewish Indiana Jones, Ari travels the world looking for clues to the history and traditions of lost/vanishing Jewish communities in Europe, North Africa and Asia.  And he has an uncanny knack for showing up in little villages just as renovations of an ancient building reveals the presence of a hidden cache of dusty Judaic or a long-forgotten entrance to a secret basement synagogue clogged with sodden Torah scrolls and holy books. 

But unlike the fictional Indiana Jones, whose adventures benefited only his university, some musty museum, and maybe expanded some narrow understanding of a lost/forgotten culture, my friend Ari's halachic adventures benefit and expand the boundaries of his own people's 'knowledge-base', and assure that future generations of Jews will be able to experience and enjoy aspects of their own traditions that might otherwise have been lost to the sands of time.

Reading the article reminded me that, even though we see each-other every week in shul, it's been far too long since I've brought a bottle of wine over to Ari's house and heard the details of his latest adventure unfold over a good game of billiards.


Posted by David Bogner on October 18, 2009 | Permalink


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He does and writes about very interesting stuff, as does his adventure partner, Ari Zivotofsky.

Posted by: Ben-Yehudah | Oct 18, 2009 12:24:23 PM


Posted by: Noa | Oct 18, 2009 4:29:09 PM

You're making this guy up. ;o/

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Oct 19, 2009 12:13:29 AM

Hmm, I wonder if I could interest him in some corn smut...

Posted by: Barzilai | Oct 19, 2009 4:03:58 AM

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