When I was in 12th grade at L.A. Hebrew High School, our Chumash teacher, Eliezer Slomovic, interrupted a lesson to share with us a little of his anger. He had davened on the previous Shabbat in a friend’s shul — I think to attend a bar mitzvah. Eliezer, as we called him, always got to shul on time and apparently the gabbai wanted to honor him with an aliyah. He came up to our teacher and asked, “Do you keep kosher?”
As he told us this, Eliezer, a learned and humble man, looked down and slowly shook his head in wonder and sorrow. The room full of 16- and 17-year-olds perked up. We stopped passing notes or flirting with the boy across the room. We sensed that Eliezer was about to impart an important life lesson.