I am by nature a very loyal person. I am extremely loyal to friends and to the things in my life passed onto me by dint of birth. I am loyal to my hometown of Philadelphia and to my home state of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia is a great city with an important heritage. Like every city, it has its shortcomings, but overall it is great. It's beautiful. Growing up, music was a huge part of Philly and my life. It has a great restaurant scene. The country's first lending library and zoo. Plus, the history of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc.
I've lived in many places in addition to Pennsylvania: Michigan, Israel, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Australia, Utah and now Los Angeles. This is the first time since Philly that I've truly thought of someplace as my adopted hometown. It felt comfortable to me from the beginning, 8 years ago now, when I came to interview at Temple Judea. And, now I considered myself an Angelino.
I know that California gets a bad rap around the country for it's wacky-liberal-laid back-surfer-pot
smoking-superficial-lifestyle, which of course is both a caricature and the truth. It's a geographically stunning state with world-class ski resorts and beaches--not a lot of places can say that. You can essentially have every possible kind of vacation in California, from wild outdoor adrenaline pumping adventures to the most sublime foodie experience. But, here's what I truly love about California
California is in almost every way the nation's leader. We think of movies and entertainment: but that's not merely a trifle. From the outset, Hollywood was the technological avant garde in film, sound, special effects, music, recording, In many ways, Hollywood was the first Silicon Valley of our country. And, those technological innovations led to social innovations as well: though it didn't always go smoothly and it didn't always move in a straight line, Hollywood was a leader in breaking down barriers for people of color, women, the LGBTQ community and more. There is a long way to go--we need more of all of the above in production offices, behind the camera, etc. But, these changes tend to happen in Hollywood long before other parts of the country.
Of course in many ways the new Hollywood is Silicon Valley. The impact of Silicon Valley on our world is incalculable. And, although Silicon Valley isn't perfect, and although it too has a long way to go in protecting the rights of workers (hello, Amazon, among others), Silicon Valley is a thought leader.
And, in the fight against COVID19, I'm proud to say that Governor Newsom, Mayor Garcetti, and the leadership of California have again been leaders. California was among the first to issue stay-at-home orders and get on top of this. If you look at the numbers, bearing in mind the California is by far the country's most populous state (with 40 million residents, we're significantly above Texas, the next biggest state with about 29 million), California is on track to suffer about 5,000 deaths by August 4 while Florida (OK, who wants to compare us to Florida) with almost half the population will have about 7,000 deaths--that's a huge difference!
So, I"m proud to be a Californian, while living in my adopted hometown of Los Angeles. Though I'll always be a Philly boy and never outlive my love of soft pretzels, Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Tastykakes and more--California, I'm home.