So it's late, but I wanted to do a quick spiel about my evening, on which I will (hopefully) elaborate tomorrow.
I trekked up to Skokie from Hyde Park (where I work), which took me more than 2.5 hours. I arrived just in time for the event, but without time for dinner. So my dinner actually consisted of a mini scone and two pieces of some type of pumpkin bread. Delish! I'd eat now, but, well, it wouldn't be right, and I'm exhausted. I got a chance to catch the rabbi before he went up to start the event, and he said to look for him after, which, unfortunately, didn't happen. The place was packed with Jews of all stripes and designs, and it was, in a word, glorious. (Note: Will write tomorrow about my attire, feeling about being there, etc.)
The event itself was quite surprising -- the crowd was incredibly conservative, to the right, that is. The two speakers debated a variety of issues, but it mostly focused on Israel and what is good for the Jews in election 2008. Of course, the best thing that was said was by the left figure, who told a quip about two men in a boat and how there was a hole in the boat, and quite frankly the one sitting on the side without the hole wouldn't laugh at the other guy and say "ha ha! you're going to get wet!" For the entire ship would sink, silly. In this respect we see that asking what is good for the Jews is good and well, but what is good for the whole is also important. Overall the debate didn't really turn me one way or another, and it seemed the crowd was leaning heavily toward McCain (war, blah blah). It was disheartening, to say the least, especially because the crowd wasn't of the particularly frum variety (from what I could tell, anyhow, but looks can be deceiving as we know).
After the event I found myself staring out the building's large glass windows at thunder and lightning, not to mention a complete barrage of rain. I didn't want to stand outside in the rain waiting for a bus, and then a train, and then a bus. I didn't want to call a cab, either. I was tired, and hadn't even planned on staying until the end, but there I was. So one rabbi talked to some people and found a girl in the crowd who also lived sort of near me (not really, she's over near the Western brown line, actually, but the thought!), and together we realized that neither of us had cars and we were imperiled. So we talked to another rabbi's wife and she talked to some people and they talked to some people and we got a ride to one place and then a ride home from the rabbi's wife.
THIS, folks, is why I love the Jewish community. We may only be 1.7 something percent of the population, but we care. We make it work. We take care of each other! So I have to thank the rebbitzin for her kindness. I also have to say that the other girl, whom I gave one of my fancy new business cards (sporting Chavi, at that) so she could get in touch with me about maybe going to the Modern Orthodox shul over near here. I feel okay that I didn't eat dinner and trekked from one end of the city to the other and will be a bear in the morning as such. Why? Well, because tonight was one of those nights where I feel like I'm home again.