I’m a middle class loser sellout. I have a nice apartment, I shop at the organic farmers market and I have a good job and dork around on my laptop all day.
If I were a real Jew, I’d be a Crustie.
Crusties are a subculture of urban nomads with ties to the gutter punk and hippie movements. The actual term “Crustie” comes from the crust that develops on your newly pierced body, though Crusties are known more for being dirty, smelly, hungry and perpetually homeless. Many have quasi-anarchist political leanings that are anti-capitalist and anti-conformity.
While true Crusties in the 80’s and 90’s sense don’t exist like they used to, homeless Travel Kids who adopt the nomadic lifestyle are in full force. I’ve known a few and they have a pretty interesting perspective on life.
The Jewish People have been crusty Travel Kids for generations. Only now have we truly settled down in the Western World and made a mainstream name for ourselves.
Part of me regrets that. I sometimes wish the Jews were still wandering. I wish we weren’t so settled.
For a long time, Michael and I have been talking about getting a van and traveling around America, helping small Jewish communities have services and Torah study. While we are both married, and he has a kid and is attending school, that aching part of yourself that wants to get rid of the apartment, sell your stuff, and live like a bohemian never goes away.
Shlomo Carlebach had it right: go forth and be blameless, just like our father Abraham. Be a nomad. Go where the people need you. Be a Crustie Travel Kid, for HaShem. They’ll call you a hippie, a loser, a rebel, an anti-social misfit. But G-d smiles and that’s what’s important.