In Leo Rosten’s classic lexicon of Yiddish words, The Joys of Yiddish, one of the definitions of haimish is “informal, cozy, warm.” And I think that best describes the atmosphere in the room last evening at Max and Benny’s Restaurant and Deli where author Scott Turow spoke at the Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series.
Nearly everyone among the 250 people in the audience was Jewish. When asked by a reporter how he felt speaking in front of such a preponderantly Jewish crowd, Turow answered “I’m grateful to them for being proud of me.”
Turow was truly in his comfort zone, speaking to the audience not only about his books and legal career, but also about growing up Jewish in his preteen years in the very Jewish neighborhood of West Rogers Park in the 50s and early 60s, attending Rogers elementary school, playing at Indian Boundary Park and eating at local delis.
Those of us who listened to him last night truly felt that pride of one of our own who has done well in life and who has made his mark on society.