Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

A Lapsed Methodist, A Mongolian Buddhist and a Reconstructionist Jew Walked into a Chicago Kosher Bakery…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 11:59 am on Friday, July 2, 2021

By Robert M. Katzman © July I, 2021

No, you haven’t heard this one:

A Lapsed Methodist, A Mongolian Buddhist and a Reconstructionist Jew Walked into a Chicago Kosher Bakery.

There was a petite dark-haired, dark-eyed woman behind the counter with a strong accent. When we asked for kosher brownies for our 99-year-old-friend waiting in the car, she replied, 

“Oh sorry! But the synagogue just bought ALL of them!

I noticed her accent, asked if she was from Europe and she looked at me and said, 

“Oh, no, I’m Assyrian” and smiled a lovely smile. Then, I thought to myself,

 “Of course, who else would be working in a kosher bakery on Devon Street in Chicago.”

Then I stopped and looked at all of us, paused and said: “America!”

(True story, happened on July 1, 2021 at about noon. Too good a moment to keep to myself)


The very interesting people present were, besides myself, by way of Poland, Lithuania and Byelorussia, later from the South Side of Chicago; Adventure Girl (who wishes to remain anonymous, is part Cherokee, part descended from the Mayflower People and herself lived all over the USA; the Mongolian Buddhist woman was Lisaa Altantsetseg (whose name means Golden Flower) who is from Ulan Batar, the capitol of Mongolia, and who also speaks Russian; the Assyrian woman was from what once was Mesopotamia, later Northern Iraq and Southeast Turkey because Assyria, the world’s first empire, disappeared in 934 BC.

The languages spoken there, Semitic languages like Hebrew, Arabic and Ethiopean Amharac were/are: Akkadian, Sumarian and Aramaic, which is assumed to be the language of Jesus Christ.

About Mongolia, in the 13th and 14th centuries, Mongolia had the largest contiguous land mass of Empire in History, beginning with Emperor Genghis Khan. Worldwide, the pesent day approximate Mongolian population is, surprisingly to me, anyway: 3,300,000, or slightly more than the population of Chicago.

We learned two words in Mongolian: Friend = Naiz and Jew = Curee

Regarding the anonymous (partly) Cherokee Woman, a wonderful person I am endeared to, I found out this information on Wikipedia: The Cherokee are North American Indians of Iroquoian lineage who constituted one of the largest politically integrated tribes at the time of European colonization of the Americas. Their name is derived from a Creek word meaning “people of different speech”; many prefer to be known as Keetoowah or Tsalagi. In any event, in present day America, there are about 390, 000 Cherokee individuals.

Chinese Jews have lived in Kaifeng, a city in central China’s Henan province, for over 1,000 years. This makes the Kaifeng Jews the oldest Jewish community in China.

The exact time Jews arrived in Kaifeng is not entirely certain. Most scholars believe that Jews first arrived during the Song Dynasty (960-1127 C.E.), from India or Persia (present day Iran), stops on the Silk Road. During this period, the Chinese people called the Jews “Tiaojiaojin” (the religion that removes the tendon) because Jewish dietary law (kashrut) forbids the consumption of the sciatic nerve. A bit later, during the Ming Dynasty, the emperor assigned Jews one of eight last names because he found Hebrew names confusing. To this day Kaifeng Jews can be recognized by their last names: Ai, Shi, Gao, Gan, Jin, Li, Zhang or Zhao.  

And finally, East Indian Jews. Because the Bene Israel families were scattered among many villages, community life in Kolaba District was extremely limited, and group prayer and Jewish rituals took place in the home. The community’s religious observance was based on Biblical Judaism: they celebrated Jewish holidays related to the Bible; the Sabbath was strictly observed; all male children were circumcised eight days after birth; and the first Hebrew verse of the Shema was recited on all occasions for prayer. World Jewish population is about 15,000,0000 all over the globe, or: A little more than Pennsylvania, a little less than New York State.

All five of us gathered together in one small store, Tel Aviv Bakery, on a hot sunny day, on the north side of Devon street eight miles north of Downtown Chicago, a place currently totally occupied by immigrants from India, Pakistan, Assyrians and many Hasidic Jews, and none of us were armed or antagonized by any of each other’s origin or religion.

There was a somewhat collective unhappiness about the unavailability of the chocolate brownies, but the cozy little bakery with its wonderful aroma had many other good things to chew on. There were very fine, thick chocolate chip cookies, for instances.

We learned one more word in Mongolian, which was: Cool = Saikhan which certainly described this moment.

We bought, we ate, we drove north to Wisconsin.



Publishing News! 

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart  and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: https://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998                                                                                                                     (262)752-3333, 8AM-7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

Shipping by air to most of Europe, due to the weight of my books is $99.00

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.


Comment by Kumari De Silva

July 2, 2021 @ 12:17 pm

Sweet! I like when people celebrate what makes up America. I wish everyone was like this

Comment by Herb Berman

July 2, 2021 @ 1:56 pm

I love this slice of life in the city, Bob. It’s a small event, but profound in its meaning. It’s the USA at its best.

Comment by Brad Dechter

July 2, 2021 @ 2:17 pm

Let them eat cake!
I love a good bakery….

Comment by Lisaa from Mongolia

July 3, 2021 @ 6:46 pm

Really I enjoyed your stories.
A very nice to meet you and Nancy.
We had a wonderful time with long trip. Thank you so much drive
to Chicago.


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