Saturday, April 23, 2011
Sabbatical in England. (1973)
My first sabbatical was in England at the Chester Beatty Research Institute, (Royal Marsden Hospital) in Sutton a suburb south of London. The year was 1973. I remember this year very clearly since we were in England during the Yom Kippur war and also during the great English (Welsh) coal strike. The Royal Marsden was an institute famous for studies of leukemia, and was affiliated with the Chester Beatty Hospital in the city. I had chosen to work there because of Dr. Peter Alexander and his publications on macrophage activity and response to double stranded (ds) RNA. Macrophages are cells of the immune system that “eat” and clean up the body of foreign material and bacteria, and even destroy virus-infected cells. We had been working in my laboratory with a virus that during its replication produced large amounts of double stranded RNA, although the virus itself is single stranded. Double stranded RNA treatment of macrophages led to what were called “ angry macrophages”. Microscopically the cells became very ruffled and appeared to move around the petri dish and destroy nearby cells. Adding ds-RNA to a mixture of macrophages and mouse L-cells, a cancerous cell line resulted in the L-cells being “gobbled up”. This was at a time when in my own lab Barbara Cordell, a graduate student, had discovered that the addition of viral dsRNA to a culture killed various cell types. At that time we had no idea of the mechanism of this activity. Peter Alexander had published a number of papers in Nature on macrophage activation by double stranded RNA. We had found or claimed that the dsRNA killing of cells (cytotoxic effect) happened without protein synthesis, which was a surprise. I now think it was due to the binding of the dsRNA to receptors in the cell, that act as alarms and trigger a whole series of reactions leading to macrophage activation. This was a top lab in the area of immunity and I had a Fogarty International Fellowship from the USPHS.
We were allocated housing within a few blocks of the institute. This was a typical English semidetached house, we on one side and a Dutch couple also on sabbatical on the other side. We became quite friendly with them and we “ child” sat for each other giving us a lot of freedom to go into the city in the evenings. They had children slightly younger than ours. Yuval was 11 and Jonathan 8. We hooked up the houses by walky-talky’s, which meant we could sit in our own house and listen for any noise from next door.
The house unfortunately was very dirty, the previous occupant having worked with sheep and there were sheep droppings in various nooks and crannies particularly in the clothes closet. However it had a nice garden with rose bushes and lilac, and in general was quite pretty, a few yards from the bus stop in a quiet area and within walking distance of the institute. We very quickly bought ourselves a car, a Datsun, which we kept for the total length of the sabbatical, used to go up to Scotland and many other trips and sold at cost when we left.
The labs were spacious and well equipped but very little was accomplished during that year, since most of the work was done in mice, or macrophages isolated from mice and the mice population were infected with a protozoan like parasite, which could influence our results. This was not identified until quite late into the project. However I did gain quite a lot of experience working with tumors in mice, and culturing cells of the immune response, and also learned a great deal of immunology from attending talks and seminars.
The typical work day went something like this: arrive at work between 8-9a.m. Coffee or tea break for about 30 minutes around 10a.m. Lunch and a walk on the Downs opposite the institute from 12 -1.30, and then leave for home around 4.0 to avoid rush hour. Since I worked close by, none of this schedule applied to me, and I worked a normal day. Apart from the short work -day I was also disturbed by the English class system. There was very little social interaction between the lab personnel, such as technicians and secretaries and the faculty. This became most obvious at Xmas when parties were announced and we would turn up, to find ourselves the only “professionals” among the “ hoi poloi” of secretaries and maintenance people. Professor Peter Alexander would appear for a few minutes to welcome every one and add his greetings, but no other members of the faculty were present. One just did not associate with the lower classes.
Peter Alexander was a larger than life character. He was a large, good-looking man, with a booming voice. His English had a trace of a German accent, and I believe he was born in Germany. He was born in 1922, so that when I got to know him he was already in his early 50’s. I felt small and insignificant beside him. To quote from his obituary in the Independence “Peter Alexander's talents were those of a publicist, a communicator, a teacher and a leader rather than those of a bench worker. He was a strategist rather than a tactician. He was basically a romantic and science for him was a personal crusade in which a struggle against daunting odds was a stimulus and not an obstacle. He could only function properly if he felt himself to be at the centre of the affairs that interested him. Then ideas erupted from him in rapid succession and ranged from the penetratingly astute to the hare-brained and often exceeded the resources provided for their completion by several orders of magnitude.”
The Alexander’s lived in a large house out in the country, near Redhill. We were invited for dinner one evening with some other “ visitors” to the lab. This was to be quite an elegant affair, so both Mimi and I dressed for the occasion. Unfortunately it was pouring, coming down as they say in ‘Buckets”. Peter appeared with his car to take us to his house, a red convertible. He could not get his convertible to convert so that we arrived slightly damp. We were introduced to Mrs. Alexander (Jane) who was a “ horsey” sort of woman, of a specific English type. She insisted we see her horses, which were used for fox hunting. She put on her Wellingtons, but we had to trek through the mud in our good shoes to the stables. This was particularly galling to the ladies in the company who had put on their best high heels.
At dinner she proudly announced that all we were about to eat was produced on the estate. I think Mimi asked rather innocently whether this included the venison that was served as main course. Of course she exclaimed, I hit this particular animal with my car (I assume accidently) and brought it home. She then told us a story which I think is classic. She had been breeding a specific breed of hamsters for sometime and had too many of them. She called Harrods of London, and asked whether they carried this breed pretending she wanted to purchase some. She was very indignant when they told her they did not have any in stock. A few weeks later in a disguised voice, she called Harrods and asked whether they would be interested in purchasing such a strain of Hamsters. Remembering the last conversation, and quite sure there would be a demand; they offered to buy them from her. Thus she was able to dispose of her unwanted animals. I don’t know why she was breeding them unless watching them gave her a sexual thrill, since the dinner conversation that evening was very risqué and slightly embarrassing.
The year in London was enjoyable. We went quite often to the theatre and to opera. We could not afford the best seats in the old Convent Garden Opera House, so would climb an interminable amount of stairs to the top balconies, from which you could barely see the stage. The stairs were totally unadorned and reminded me of the stairs up the tenements in the poorer parts of Glasgow. Theatre was not as expensive as the opera, and I remember we saw a fantastic performance of Shakespeare’s Pericles performed in the round. We found an excellent Italian restaurant in Wimbledon one where large Italian families gathered for Sunday lunch. This was the days before there were large numbers of good Indian restaurants. We would meet my cousin Alan and wife Francis occasionally and go out for dinner together, usually to an Italian Restaurant in the city. There was a bus service from the institute into the city, and Mimi would often go into the city to museums and shopping.
The children went to English public school, Yuval was in the class that sat 11+ exams, and Jonathan must have been in 3rd grade. We were worried about the kids attending a “ foreign” school, but there was no need. The first day at school, Yuval asked if it was O.K. to go to tea with some of the kids he had met. He became very good friends with a Jamie Pimstone, and with Marcus Wright. He seemed to fit in very well. We also became quite good friends with the Pimstones, who were South African Jews who had moved to England. They were from a rather famous family of S. African lawyers and doctors. Years later I met other members of the family at scientific meetings. We often went over to their house for dinner and other parties. Yuval sat his 11+ exams with flying colors and if we had stayed in Sutton would have gone to a prestigious grammar school. Jonathan adapted also very well, his teacher remarking how well he did considering he was an American. In fact at the beginning of the school year, it was assumed by the teachers that our children would not be up to the standard of the other children, but they were quickly proven wrong. One of Jonathan’s teachers even remarked that he spelt rather well for an American! This attitude to American kids even carried over to a vacation in the country. This was a farm vacation where one stayed on the farm, ate with other visitors, and generally “ lazed” around, went hiking etc. On our fist evening on the farm, we were segregated from the other guests, and put in a separate room for dinner. The following evening we were allowed to join the other guests. Our hostess was worried that the “ American” kids would have no manners and make too much noise.
We did go up to Glasgow a few times to visit the family. The family lived in the same house I lived in when I was 16, before I left Glasgow, at 90 Holeburn Rd. I do not remember very much of these visits. Maurice my brother must have been around 21 years old. That is also 21 years younger than I. I do not remember whether he was going out with Barbara, his wife to be or not. Adelaide and Beatrice by this time were married and had children. In fact we visited Beatrice and Noah in Sheffield, and made some trips to York and the surrounding areas. Adelaide and John lived in Glasgow, Aaron about the same age as our Jonathan and Naomi a toddler. My parents were delighted to meet their grandchildren, and I remember the children being spruced up for my cousin Muriel Mitchells wedding.
The visits to Holeburn Rd touched an emotional raw spot. No 98 was where my grandmother and grandfather had lived, until the death of my grandfather. I was very close to my grandparents and spent many weekends with her. I was the first grandchild, and my grandparents really made a great deal of fuss over me, and during the war years I spent as much time with them as I did at home. My leaving school, and then home must have been a great shock to them. I do not think my grandmother (by this time my grandfather had died) ever understood why. Unfortunately she died shortly after I married Mimi in 1958. She most certainly would have approved of the marriage and my subsequent life.
We also went on some great holidays from England. These were the days of cheap charter flights. We flew to Tunisia for a week, to Hammemat, staying in a resort called Les Orangers. We rented a car and drove into Tunis City and into the desert and Kharouan, a Muslim holy city. Tunisia was fascinating. The hotel and food were great, there was dancing in the evenings, once even accompanied by a knife brawl (after all this was North Africa). We got stuck in a wadi in the desert (the edge of the Sahara) and had to have the car pulled out by a group of Arab children. This was a time when Tunis was a benevolent dictatorship under Bourgaiba, and very open to visitors. It was not particularly “Muslim” in the current sense, although women did cover themselves. However there was also a secular side to the country. The ‘souk” in Tunis was fascinating as was in particular Kharouan with its mosques. This is regarded as the fourth most holy city in Islam, and dates to the 7th century. It has a huge mosque and fortress. We wandered around the city with no problems, not something I think could be done today.
Over spring vacation we went to Spain to Mohacar, a very windy isolated village near Almeria. The wind howled all the time, and we stayed near the top of the mountain. It felt as if our hotel would be blown away. The village itself is completely white, and looks similar to a village on one of the Greek islands. The same square shaped houses. We had planned to cross the Sierra Nevada and visit Grenada. We had rented a Volkswagen “ bug”, unfortunately not in the best condition, and headed out over the Sierra Nevada. We had not driven very far when people started making signs to us to turn around. We had no idea why until we hit a terrific snowstorm. The car was a catastrophe; the windshield wipers did not work and the brakes were weak. Here we were on a narrow mountain road going over very steep passes, with no turn offs, and being blinded by the snow. Eventually we did find a spot on the road wide enough to turn round, and drove slowly back to the coast. It was not until many years later that we actually did get to see the Alhambra in Granada, not in winter and not from the coast.
Another short trip was to Paris for the weekend. This trip had specific meaning for me, since before making it I had been summoned to the local police station since I had not registered as a foreigner. All foreigners had to register after being in the UK for three months. I explained to the girl working in the office that I actually was not foreign, but born in Glasgow, Scotland. She did not quite know what to do with me, and sent me to another office of the interior ministry in London. I explained my predicament. I had arrived in the UK with an USA passport ( Mimi actually had used her British passport, not yet being a U.S. citizen), and thus technically I had overstayed may welcome, and needed permission to continue workiI was asked whether I had any plans to leave the UK for a short time. Since I did, I was told to leave on my US passport and return to Britain with my new British Passport, which was issued within a few weeks. This satisfied the computer (?) the bureaucrats or records. The weekend in Paris was a great success. We stayed in luxury at the Scribe Hotel, an old 19th century hotel near the Place L’Opera and Pl Vendome. The hotel dates from 1860 and was famous at the turn of the century as the home of the Jockey Club, a society of owners of racing horses. We did the usual, went to the Opera, ate well, and spent time at the Louvre.
I should add a few words about this particular year. As stated above it was the year of the great coal miner’s strikes, and also the Yom Kippur war. I remember watching the war unfold on television with great trepidation at the beginning and relief afterwards at the Israeli victory. There was a general shortage of fuel in the UK and the government imposed all sorts of measures to preserve electricity. The British people behaved again as if in WWII. Shops ran by candle light in the evening instead of electricity. People talked about how great it was to re-live these austerity conditions again. The British obviously love nostalgia, and longing for the good old days. The disputes lasted for 16 weeks, and it was only after a general election that the strike was settled. Both Mimi and I voted in that election as citizens of the U.K. I remember voting for the “liberal” party, but I cannot remember why other than that my brother Maurice was active in the party and convinced me to do so. Anyhow Labor won, and the miners received a 35% increase in salary.
Looking back, this was an interesting year. We were all quite happy in our surroundings, and lived relatively well the English middle class life. On the other hand we were glad to return to Bloomington, and started building the house that we still live in to this day.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Irvine and Laguna Beach 1966-67.
We drove down from Palo Alto to look at University of Califronia, Irvine. In 1966 it was a beautiful place. This was the newest campus of the University of California system. The campus consisted of a few white, modern buildings surrounded by acres of orange groves. Very hilly and green, and one could not predict that in a few years all these beautiful hills would be flattened and covered with track housing, shopping malls, and even an international airport. Today it is called John Wayne International airport after the “tough guy” western actor. More appropriately it is also called Santa Ana airport, because of the proximity to Santa Ana, and serves as the airport to Disney Land.
I was quite happy to meet John Holland and view the lab, and the projects seemed interesting. John was a tall, skinny guy, very open and friendly. He was a good scientist, but had a very mercuric temper and could not stand “ bullshit” or interference from authority. His temper often got him into trouble, and after a couple of years he left UCI.
We decided to try and find a rental on the coast. There were two appealing small towns within 15 miles; these were Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach. Laguna was a that time an “ artists colony”, very hip and arty on the one hand and very conservative and wealthy at the same time. Today the hippiness has gone but the wealth has remained. We had no difficulty in renting a house two blocks from the beach. The house was owned by a couple of men who were only too happy to have a “ doctor” living in the area. It enhanced, or so they thought, the value of the surrounding property. In fact at the beginning I was called a few times by neighbors asking for medical advice. I had to explain I was a Ph.D. doctor and not a physician, although I did give advice, usually just common sense. However no one ever offered to pay for my consultations. The house had been completely remodeled, had a beautiful front yard, with the largest Avocado trees overlooking the porch, and a couple of fig trees out front. It was more than anyone could desire. The avocadoes were the large kind, and every time one fell the house would shake. I learned to harvest avocadoes by taking a Coffee can, cutting out a triangle so that it had a sharp edge, attaching it to a pole and with some manipulation this would cut the avocado stem. I felt I was living in the jungle and harvesting fruit in a primitive fashion. The children who were only 3 and 1 year old would sit under the fig trees and eat all the ripe fruit. I still have a passion for ripe figs, ever since I lived in Israel, and I need to ask the children sometime whether they do!
At that time Laguna beach was predominantly small cottages with gardens, climbing up the hills of the nearby canyons. We had a baby sitting co-op so that we got to know various areas of the town when we baby sat for other people. Almost all the small houses near the beach have now been transformed into apartment blocks. We had the option to buy our house, and often have thought if only we had, since property values sky rocketed, and the house we were renting for $250 a month would have been worth a few million dollars today.
Laguna Beach is famous for its festival of the arts, when tableux’s would be presented of famous paintings. The city hugs the Pacific Ocean, with high hills and mountains surrounding it. Today these hills are covered with small houses, and every few years there are landslides after the heavy winter rains, and some of the houses tumble down the hills and canyons. There are beautiful beaches in small coves, and the promenade along the beach is astride gardens and flowerbeds. In our days the major landmark on the beach was a very elegant French Restaurant called the “ Victor Hugo”, too expensive for us to afford. Today it is less expensive, and is now Las Brisas, a Mexican restaurant, where one can sit outside on a wide veranda and look at the waves and surfers and drink Margharita’s. The center of the town consists of three shopping streets with boutiques and banks, as well as stores selling tourist paraphernalia, ice cream salons and a few great bakeries. The town has the atmosphere of a resort, and we would not venture out at weekends since the beaches and roads through the town were packed. The last few years the town has suffered from fires and mud-slides as it expanded up the hills and into the canyons. Unfortunately it is surrounded by large housing tracks, mostly built as retirement communities, but these do not really infringe on the town itself . These go by names such as Leisure World, and Laguna Hills. A new town has developed just South of Laguna, Dana Point, indicating the fast growth of Southern California. I remember it as a single pier jutting out into the sea.
In those days just as one entered the town one met the town greeter. This was a figure with a long white beard and long white hair who would wave to every car and greet the driver and passengers. This was Eiler Larson, the official town greeter. He stood on the Pacific Coast Highway from the 1940’s to through the 1960s every weekend and waved to passersby. By profession he was a gardener, and lived in a room at the Laguna Hotel, a small hotel, still standing, in the middle of the town. We thought of him as being rather “ crazy”. However after his death the city put up a statue of him near the pottery shack, another old landmark, which is no longer there making pottery, but now an expensive restaurants where one can sit out on the deck and watch the traffic on the Pacific Coast hway !
Mimi was very happy, she would take the kids to the beach, and we made quite a number of friends. Her parents, who lived in Los Angeles would often come down for the day. I would drive 15 miles back and forth to Irvine. Sometimes, the fog was so dense, that I had to get out of the car to ascertain I was still on the road, and not slipping off a cliff into the sea. The Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) hugged the coast line , and in many places there was a sheer drop of a 100 feet or more. At that time there was very little between the campus and Laguna Beach, not like today where there is Spanish style track housing on one side of the highway and major roads to the University, as well as remnants of parks fought over between developers and environmentalists. We had two sets of friends, one connected with the university world, the others from the town. It gave us a view of a society that to us at that time was strange, and I think influenced our decision later not to remain in California. Perhaps a mistake, but we still thought of retuning to Israel.
Yuval was taking piano lessons at a nearby location, the Yamaha method, and parents would wait for their children to finish. Mimi would meet one of the mothers, Greta , quite often, and since the children were the same age we decided to meet at their house one evening for dinner. Greta lived with her “ family “ on a house on the beach (Laguna used to have very primitive and cheap houses right on the water front, these houses or shacks are still there and are worth a million dollars, most having been remodeled and enlarged ). Greta was from Denmark, a striking blonde. Greta and we assumed her husband, and another male friend lived together in the house. Philip, whom we assumed was her husband, was an artist. To make a long confusing story short, Philip and Greta had been married and were now divorced, the other man was Philip’s lover. Greta and Philip later remarried This was in 1966 before the great sexual revolution. Perhaps we were too square and conservative, but we were not accustomed to these relationships, although I really did not mind. They were very kind and friendly people and introduced us to the pre-hippy (intellectual) society of Laguna, including poets and other artists.. Everyone was smoking Marijuana, and some even into LSD . We felt a little out of it. We have returned to Laguna many times in the last few years and have never been able to find any of our “old’ town friends other than those connected to the University. In searching the internet for information on Laguna beach of that period, I found that Timothy Leary had connection to the town at that time, and that Laguna Canyon was well known locale for LSD production.
To quote from a 1985 newspaper article ( Glendale news press) “Laguna Beach was the LSD capital of the world starting in mid-1960s and was still home to droppers, dopers and dealers until 1981, according to an unpublished book, "The Jesus Dealers," written by Ted Taylor in collaboration with former Police Chief Neal Purcell. In its heyday, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, founded by Timothy Francis Leary, was allegedly selling dope in Laguna at health food stores, juice bars, psychedelic shops, record stores, surf shops and even a used car lot. Woodland Drive was considered their base, known to local law enforcement as "Dodge City."
This was the first year of UCI as a university. The campus was very small, only two buildings and very few undergraduates. There was really no difference between post-docs and faculty, we all mixed quite freely. Everyone seemed young. The lab consisted of three post docs (including myself) and one graduate student and a few high school students. We all worked on John’s ideas, which changed quite often. Actually John moved after a year to University of California at La Jolla, and found his true interest in viral evolution. Most of the time I worked on methods to purify tRNA and look at tRNA profiles from different tissues. The other post-docs in the lab were Clayton, and Morrie. Clayton had an unfortunate life, his first wife, died of a brain tumor while still young, and his second wife I believe committed suicide. Despite this he had a very successful career in science. Morrie went on to become a professor at UCI. We met again a few years ago while visiting Laguna. Morrie’s fame lies in the discovery of Lymphotoxin, which later became known as TNF (tumor necrosis factor). As the name implies it was hoped it would be a general anti-cancer agent, but it has proven to be too toxic. Still it has been a great research tool in immunology and in cancer research.
The atmosphere in the lab was not as good as it had been at Stanford. We had problems with the high school students. LSD was big at this time (see above) , and many of these students would routinely take drugs. We were afraid to drink our coffee in case it was laced. The story I heard was that two of the high school students jumped from the roof under the influence of LSD and one blinded himself by staring at the sun for too long a time. We personally came up against the drug problem when some friends, the Duncans, immigrated to Australia because they were afraid to bring up their teen children in Laguna Beach (they eventually returned not particularly happy with Australia). Mrs Duncan could not stand the snakes and the primitive conditions that they met on that continent. We were I suppose to some extent influenced by this very hedonistic society but never took drugs. We were just too “ square”. As Mimi has pointed out, the atmosphere was such that if you were not enjoying yourself all the time then you had a problem. One had to be constantly happy. This was the America of the constant smile, and California was the epitome of this.
As I mentioned earlier, we had befriended Cathy and John Pearse at Stanford. John and Cathy had gone to Egypt to teach at the American University in Cairo for a few years. Cathy’s mother ‘ Mrs. Reap” had opened a store in Laguna selling imported goods ( as far as I know not drugs) . I can still picture the store, a small corner store at the corner of Thalia and Pacific Coast Highway, full of stuff from the orient and Middle East. The store is still there but different owners and different knick-knacks. We saw a lot of John and Cathy at weekends. John was looking for a faculty position, which he later found at U California Santa Cruz. Interestingly we talked a lot about their sojourn in Egypt, and how primitive the Egyptian army was despite the bellicose statements from Nasser. This was just before the 6-day war and their impression, proven correct, was that the Egyptian army was no match for the Israeli Army. The Egyptian soldiers did not even have boots.
Cathy and John were having some problems, I am not sure of what nature, but they had decided to get divorced. Mimi might know the reasons, since Cathy had given birth while we were in Palo Alto to a stillborn child as the result of an E.coli infection and Mimi had helped Cathy during this period. Also Mrs. Reap had helped us when Mimi had a miscarriage, and we had become quite close. After leaving Laguna we lost contact with Cathy until a few years ago when we called on her after finding out that she was still in Laguna Beach, and was a successful artist, now Cathy Jones. We even have one of her paintings on the dining room wall. She had remarried, had been at one time a vice-chancellor in charge of publicity at UCI and had a number of children.
One might ask, why did we not try and stay on in Laguna and UCI in 1966? I know that Mimi, more than I was afraid of bringing up children in the hedonistic atmosphere of Southern California. There was also a lack of culture, as we knew it, at that time. No concerts or classical music performances, and Los Angeles was too far to go to the theatre. The area was just developing, and UCI could hardly be called a campus. On the other hand we should have considered Mimi’s parents who most certainly did not want us to leave, and would have helped in purchasing a house. I really had no idea where I wanted to live, Israel was still a definite possibility and I really did not know the USA other than New York State and California. One day I received a letter from a Dr. Howard Gest, a friend of Charley Yanofsky my advisor at Stanford, asking me whether I would be interested in interviewing for a position at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. I knew nothing about Bloomington, nor for that matter Indiana but was told by members of my Ph.D. committee whom I contacted that it was a good place to perform science. I thus started looking at other possibilities for comparison. I was invited to give seminars at Oak Ridge, St Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, and at the microbiology department at the U. Michigan at Ann Arbor. I met Howard Gest in La Jolla while he was visiting a friend, and was impressed by what he told me. Indiana from his description was not as far out (or backwards) as I imagined, and Howard certainly was a very cultured person. Memphis, I ruled out after seeing how segregated the city was, although Alan Granoff the director of the research wing of St Jude’s a very personable person made me a very good offer. Oak Ridge was attractive, but was a cultural wasteland, and I was not the number one candidate at Michigan. My visit to Bloomington was enjoyable, and I was very impressed by the faculty, the physical set up (lots of lab space, probably double that of John’s space at UCI) and I was blown over by being taken to a musical production in the Auditorium. I came back and filled Mimi in, and the decision was made, the Mid-West for us and goodbye to California. Was it the right decision? We still had ideas of returning to Israel, and thought that Indiana would be a good place for a year or so until something opened up in Israel. One final note, since this was written and revised in 2010, despite not wanting to bring up our children in Southern California, Jonathan has returned to that location and our grandchildren are being brought up in this still very hedonistic and crowded society. Unexpectedly, what I have seen recently of Israeli society near Tel Aviv does not differ all that much from Southern California society of today. It looks the same and feels the same, the only difference being that the young speak Hebrew rather than English or Spanish. Southern California has become more diverse, a mixture of Hispanics and Orientals and has a slightly different atmosphere from 50 years ago, when Orange County, where Jonathan lives and where U. California at Irvine is located was John Birch Country, very conservative and WASPish and is now demographically , Hispanic, Chinese, Vietnamese and other ethnic groups one shopping mall after the other, with the same chain stores and the car unfortunately is still king.