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"I thought you were kidding."

This goes into the hall of fame for famous last words. This was when my wife first realized that what she thought of as my weird sense of humor might have a darker side. Here's what led up to that statement: We had just arrived in Salt Lake City and were moving into our apartment in married student housing. I was emptying out our ice chest to the refrigerator... and tossing out the cold cuts we had brought for our two day drive across Nevada and Utah from South Lake Tahoe. "What are you doing?", she asked me; a bit incredulous. "We decided to start keeping kosher when we got to Salt Lake City, remember?" "I thought you were kidding."

Ok... let me fill in a few details of how we went from that first seder to Salt Lake City. (Salt Lake City?!? UTAH??? Uh.... yes.)

After that seder I knew I was not Reform, but I didn't know what I yes was. I figured I must be Conservative. Truth be told, I had leanings in that direction anyway. The synagogue we attended for my bar mitzvah was Conservative with an Orthodox(ish) Rabbi. My brother and I were often the only ones there under 80 (or so it seemed to us) and we got a lot of very positive attention. Also, I had taken some Hebrew as an undergraduate and the teacher was the wife of the Conservative rabbi in Sacramento (about 30 minutes or so from us). Alas, there was a problem... we were close to our families. We ate dinner at my in-laws nearly every Sunday and my Dad was only a couple of hours away, so we thought it would be a bit much if we all of the sudden said we couldn't eat at their houses anymore.

That was it for a the next year or so. I was finishing my masters and decided that I wanted to do research in General Relativity, so I needed to find a new graduate school. I had been at UC Davis for about four years anyway and it was time to move on (migrant scientist, you know). There weren't too many places that did the kind of research I wanted, so the choices were limited. At the end of the day it turned out that the program best suited to us (good advisor, student housing available, support at a TA) was University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. I also found out that there was a synagogue there that had a Reform rabbi and a Conservative cantor; Reform services Friday night and Conservative Saturday morning. Perfect! I suggested to my wife that we should try keeping kosher when we moved. She said that sounded fine, or "ok" or something like that.

So we packed up our one bedroom apartment and headed east to Utah. We actually spent a week or so at Lake Tahoe for a mini-vacation and to say good-bye to my dad. Then we got into our VW Rabbit and made the two day trip to our new home. We arrived to Salt Lake City in the early afternoon, found the university, checked in at the physics department, and got directions to married student housing. We were pretty exhausted when we finally got into our little one bedroom, basement apartment with cinder block walls. My wife was *not* impressed by the place, but we were only here for graduate school and we could bear it. We unpacked the car and I started emptying out our ice chest to the refrigerator... and tossing out the cold cuts we had brought for our two day drive across Nevada and Utah from South Lake Tahoe. "What are you doing?", she asked me; a bit incredulous. "We decided to start keeping kosher when we got to Salt Lake City, remember?" "I thought you were kidding."

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