Aaron is a scientific-rationalist Orthodox Jew, a descendant of הגאון רב אליהו, and a fan of אבן עזרא. He is single, 33 years old, and currently a graduate student in the epidemiology program at the Medical University of South Carolina. He self-identifies as Litvak. He is a creative, unconventional, and inspired thinker, and he holds the title of Official Introvert of the Internet, though he is happy to talk to people (including about his religious views). He enjoys a good argument, acts as backup תורה reader for the local shtibl, and gives דברי תורה unlike anything you’ve heard before. He makes critically acclaimed cholent. He hopes to get his PhD soon, and then get a postdoctoral position in Israel; he certainly expects to leave Charleston for some place with a bigger Jewish community where there are more epidemiology jobs (such as Atlanta). He intends to do Israel-related epidemiology professionally due to an interest in the land and its people, and to have an excuse to visit (and get paid for it) or even make עליה. He is a fan of the Dvorak keyboard and inventor of a Hebrew equivalent. His motto is “Compute dangerously.” He can solve various cubic puzzles. He hopes to help make it possible for משיח to come sooner by raising kids so as to increase their chances of being able to be members of the סנהדרין. His professional goal with regard to epidemiology is to study cool, interesting stuff (plenty of such topics are available) and help prevent some preventable suffering. He wears ציציות with תכלת. He is strict on monotheism, so he cannot recite anything suggestive of worship of any entity other than ה׳. He has major doubts about the קבלה. He is an evolutionist, viewing the creation of humanity having being accomplished by Divine selective breeding. He believes the term “Modern Orthodox” is a misnomer used to obscure the fact that the great rationalist Judaic thinkers of the past (including and especially the אמוראים) were all “Modern Orthodox”. He believes that blind faith is a liability and not a virtue. His liturgical pronunciation of Hebrew is quasi-Yemenite. Life around him is never dull. He’s a nonconformist, an avid reader, a writer of strange stories in English, a translator of Carrollian material into Hebrew, and enjoys punching holes in logical absurdities. He hopes to eventually do theological experiments. One day he may yet make a living looking at other people’s statistical computations and telling them that everything they’ve done is dead wrong. He would also someday like to publish some of his unusual writings. He frequently finds the antics of children amusing and prays that this amusement continues when he is a parent.
What does he look like?
Aaron is 167 cm tall and weights about 60 kg. He has multicolored hair (color varies significantly over his head, and some strands are even blond at the root and dark at the tip). He’s worn glasses since the third grade and a beard since he graduated from high school. He bears a striking resemblance to Trey Anastasio, lead guitarist of Phish.
What are his hobbies and interests?
Learning (תנ״ך, משנה, גמרא, הלכה, historical background material, and lately גר״א- and קבלה-related material; heavily on שבת but also trying to fit it into “cracks” between other stuff during the week), reading (wide variety of subjects), writing strange stories, epidemiology, religious/theological epistemology, experimental theology, computers (Mac OS X and Unicode fanatic, enjoys R), cheering for monsters when reading or watching bad (or even good) science fiction, playing classical guitar (from time to time), and growing miniature roses.
Where was he born?
What sort of preferences does he have? (Borrowed from surveys people put on the Net and sent him.)
- Adidas, Nike, or Reebok: None of the above.
- Are you a lefty, righty or ambidextrous?: I write with my right hand, but I use my left hand for a lot more than just scratching my right elbow.
- Best feeling in the world: “Woohoo! I just slew Bill Gates!”
- Chocolate or vanilla?: Both.
- Croutons or bacon bits: He keeps כשר; take a wild guess.
- Do you eat the stems of broccoli?: No. Broccoli is the work of the יצר הרע!
- Do you like to drive?: People crazy? Yes.
- Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?: No. I’m only interested in flesh-and-blood human females.
- Do you type with your fingers on the right keys?: I use both sides of the keyboard. This is especially critical for me, since I use the Dvorak keyboard; if I used only the right keys, I wouldn’t be able to type any vowels.
- Dream car: Electric/solar and not requiring much maintenance.
- Favorite alcoholic drink: Any he is not drinking. (Aaron does not like the taste of alcohol.)
- Favorite board game?: I don’t play board games. They’re all too boaring.
- Favorite food: Unstable preference.
- Favorite foods: Anything home-made with love.
- Favorite ice cream: Strawberry.
- Favorite magazines: Any science magazine with cool stuff in it.
- Favorite movie of all time: Undecided.
- Favorite movie seen recently: There are too many bad movies that are fun to make fun of to answer this question.
- Favorite movies?: Anything with a plot or at least New York being trashed by a giant monster, but especially the (original trio of) Star Wars movies.
- Favorite perfume or cologne: Deodorant.
- Favorite salad dressing: Russian.
- Favorite smells: Any delicious food cooking, cinnamon.
- Favorite soft drink: Papaya juice.
- Favorite soundtracks: People listen to soundtracks?
- Favorite sports to watch: No sport is fun to watch, though the fans of some of the more violent sports (hockey, football) can be fun to watch.
- Favorite subject in school: Epidemiology.
- Favorite town to chill in: Anywhere but Charleston.
- Favorite type of music: Severely classical.
- Favorite Web site: Undecided. Too many to choose from.
- Have you ever been in love?: No. I haven’t been in Love. The only country besides the USA I have been to so far is Canada.
- How many rings before you answer the phone?: Depends on whether I can get someone else to answer it.
- If you could dye your hair any color, what would it be?: Fluorescent.
- If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be?: Professional goof-off.
- If you could meet one person dead or alive, who would it be?: Moses, preferably alive. Dead people do not make good company.
- Is the glass half empty or half full?: Both. The terms mean the same thing.
- Least favorite subject: Anything involving differential equations.
- One pillow or two: One.
- Present (future) daughter’s name: שושנה, דבורה, הדסה. (Strong preference for Biblical Hebrew names. Hates the idea of giving kids different Hebrew and English names; no sense in creating needless confusion. Also adverse to using names that have been used so much as to have been reduced to meaninglessness.)
- Present (future) son’s name: גדעון, אליהו, עזרא, מטטרון. (Same comments as previous. Also: how many people named מטטרון have you ever heard of? The kid would be unique!)
- Roller coaster-scary or exciting?: Neither.
- Say one nice thing about the person who sent this to you: She’s a wonderful person who’s full of love!
- Shampoo or conditioner: Shampoo.
- Storms-cool or scary?: Cool, unless I happen to be outside in a thunderstorm.
- Toothpaste: Blue gel.
- What do you think about ouija boards?: They’re very useful for scamming stupid people.
- What is on the walls of your favorite room?: Blue paint.
- What is on your mouse pad?: Not applicable. I use graphics tablet.
- What is the first thing you think of when you wake in the morning?: <ZOMBIE>"Must kill alarm clock."</ZOMBIE>
- What is under your bed?: Ancient computer equipment, plywood, and scary monsters.
- What is your favorite number?: 17.
- What is your zodiac sign?: Anything from Virgo to Scorpio. Thinking of changing it to Telescopium.
- What type was your first car?: Matchbox.
- Worst feeling in the world: “Now where did I put that antimatter bomb? Uh-oh...”
- Your favorite TV shows?: Nothing on the air these days.
What does Aaron want?
Aaron is looking for a single rationalist Orthodox Jewish woman. She must be intelligent and knowledgeable Judaically. A knowledge of science and a working knowledge of Hebrew are extremely desirable. He also considers a sense of humor, an appreciation of the bizarre, a deep weird streak, a bit of cynicism, and glasses attractive, though not strictly necessary. For him an ideal date would be being with the right person and exchanging חידושים; the exact setting is mere טפל.
What’s that parenthesized text in the middle of his English name?
That’s his patronymic (i.e., it tells what his father’s name is, i.e., Saul Joseph Adelman). He has unofficially added a patronymic to his English name out of pride in his Jewish heritage, and for religious purposes Jews use patronymics and matronymics instead of surnames.
What other names is Aaron known by?
- Nails (usually used by his brother Barry)
- Mountain-Man (obsolete)
- Hiergargo (used mainly by Aaron; those who understand the reference will probably be puzzled, and those who don’t will be definitely be puzzled)
- ☺ (meant for use in ideographic writing systems)
What does he eat?
Cholent, tuna, salmon, cherry tomatoes, olives, and steamed vegetables.
What isn’t Aaron that he’s been mistaken for?
- An Englishman, based on his accent
- An Australian
- A Russian (based on that he has sometimes worn a Bukhari yarmalke)
- An observant Muslim, possibly more than once
- An Irishman, probably based on his (partially) red hair
- A neo-Nazi, based on a severe misunderstanding of his nickname “Hiergargo”
- A חסיד, once for a Lubavitcher twice in the space of half an hour
- An Amish man
What sort of rare and unusual stuff is he looking for (seriously, in no particular order)?
- Information on postdoctoral epidemiology positions, especially those in Israel.
- Works of the גאון רב אליהו, ר׳ חיים וולאזין, and אבן עזרא, in print or in electronic format.
- A Rubik’s Revenge, Megaminx, Pyraminx Magic Tetrahedron, Pyraminx Magic Octahedron, ImpossiBall, and other similar puzzles.
- Identification of the reference: “We are the Metatron.” Aaron has a dim memory of this being spoken by some sort of cylindrical robot in a cartoon, but he is very uncertain on any details. (Yes, Aaron does know who the original Metatron is.)
- Anything by Lewis Carroll translated into Hebrew.
- Hebrew and Aramaic texts, especially pointed ones, in computer format.
- MIDI files of classical music altered so that the instruments are those of modern rock music.
- Non-Famous-Forty Oz books for his collection, especially anything by March Laumer.
- The right woman (see above).
- To know what the terms “best boy” and “grip” refer to in credits.
- Very big scanned photographs (1,280 by 1,024 pixels or bigger) of places in Israel for use as desktop pictures on his PowerBook.
- NEXTSTEP and OPENSTEP icons.
- A viola da gamba, electric and cheap.
What sort of rare and unusual stuff is he looking for (not seriously)?
- 10 kg of antihydrogen.
- A lightning bolt caught in a jar.
- A snark.
- A snorg beast, which is a sort of large-tongued creature which in served in fine Italian restaurants with bread sticks.
- A steamroller, so he can participate in the Sixth Annual National Championship Steamroller Race.
- Photographs of Udovorum magnum and Udovorum parvum, or in everyday language, the greater and lesser sock-eating monsters. These are suspected of consuming his laundry.
What is Aaron’s policy with regard to people sending him spam?
Anyone who sends Aaron any message trying to sell him anything or trying to get him to take part in any illicit or foolhardy scheme implicitly agrees to pay him US$10,000.00. Likewise, anyone who signs Aaron up to any mailing list without his prior explicit consent, who tries to solicit him to commit any improper behavior, or who gives any information about him to any marketing company without his prior explicit consent implicitly agrees to fork over $1,000. All payments are payable in cash. Complaining about not having read this notice costs another $10,000.
Note: Aaron does not discourage people from sending E-mail to him. Only people trying to make a buck off of him have anything to fear.