Arctic wolves abandoned me as a baby in a maternity ward in Philadelphia where I was adopted by a kind hearted Jewish couple who still claim to be my parents. I have lost most of my lupine physical traits but I am left with an unfulfilled desire to chase rabbits through the snow. Recognizing their adopted sons need for open space and plentiful game, they raised me in the wilds of suburban New Jersey. The conservative Jewish private schools were strangely suited to my animalistic needs. The academics were dog-eat-dog, the school lunches freshly killed game with a minimalistic hecksher, and the rabbis were open to howling at the moon as a valid outlet for expressing my Jewishness. The centerpieces at my Bar Mitzvah were a big hit. I was forced to drop out of Rutgers in my senior year when it was discovered that my non-human anatomy would never be able to adapt to drinking liquids through a funnel. In the end, I left in protest, furious that my double major in Cafeteria and Game Room had been discontinued due to academic cutbacks. I toyed with the idea of returning to my roots but years of living amongst humans and stalking my prey in shopping malls had civilized the animal I should have been. The local bagel shop refused to allow me to strip down and stalk my meals in their aisles. It was a classic case of adapt or die. I chose a cooking career over being an evolutionary drop-out and moved to New York in order to apprentice in the most exclusive French restaurants. Being a wolf left me underprepared for life in Manhattan where the real animals rode around in limousines. I learned to cook shrimp, lobster, and other aquatic bugs for celebrities and the absurdly rich. I finally felt at home and everything made sense. Any desire, every base animal appetite, was catered to in the finest and most complete fashion, to those who could afford it. Nothing was too low, no scenario too disgusting, that you couldn’t find a venue that would refuse your major credit card. In between sips of vintage wine, I developed a taste for the specific brand of ultra-violence and debasement found in the east village after midnight. There was bare bones truth there that exposed the lies of the American dream. Hell’s Angels were prophets and I became a part-time disciple. Ozzy and Harriet lay dead by the side of the highway, bloated from cholesterol filled junk food, killed execution style by roving hordes of rogue debt collectors. At some point in my drunken stupor, I became sick to the very core of my existence. Living for pleasure left me disgusted at myself and angry at my creator. I couldn’t continue and I couldn’t go back to the burbs. The wizard of Oz was a closet queer and Dorothy had a crush on Toto. At the age of thirty, I had lost my roadmap. Lost and alone, I followed the Grateful Dead on summer tour, living on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine. I whispered my questions into a small vial of LSD and finally got some clear answers to life’s trickier questions. The vial whispered back “Why have you always lived someone else’s dream? Listen to your own heart”. I found a tiny guardian angel hiding behind a mushroom. He was fragile as glass but I could tell he could kick any biker’s ass. He told me to go to Israel. They kicked out of the aliya office for not wearing a tie or a yarmulke but the kibbutz shaliach said my biker boots were perfect for farm work and was happy to sell me a ticket. I envisioned egalitarian living with free-thinking yet underclad European co-eds but through a divinely inspired misunderstanding, I ended up on a religious kibbutz, Sde Eliyahu, pork grease still glistening on my chin. There, I was informed that my background in haute cuisine and overpowered motorcycles made me a prime candidate for the dairy sheds. I traded in my chef’s hat for gum boots and spent five years acting as a surrogate mother for sabra calves. Tractors were the agro-placebo for my motorcycle itch and riding half-wild Arabian mares around the Jordan Valley was an acceptable substitute for being chased by state troopers down interstate highways. My aggressions and occasional need to drink beer and fight were met by futile attempts at cow tipping. The cows never seemed to notice. The same wisdom prevailing in the IDF, I was trained as a combat medic. The existentialist crisis created by carrying a gun and bandages had a calming effect and the long hours of lonely guard duty in the desert finally convinced my internal dialog that it had nothing worthwhile to say and that it was time to shut up and listen. At the end of five years, I left kibbutz, firmly committed to leaving religion behind. I was going to leave my sorry excuse for a soul at the lost and found in the Egged bus station and be done with spiritual journeys. That decision led me straight to yeshiva in Bat Ayin where conflicting bus schedules have made it impossible for me to leave. Ten years of studying ancient legal texts in Aramaic has pretty much straightened out all the misconceptions western education instilled in me. I woke up this morning to discover that I have been married to a wonderful woman and have four frum from birth Israeli children. My wife says that I have returned to cooking, the children are all mine from natural methods, and that I am happy. My threats to retire to the Arctic to hunt small furry animals are met with a sweet smile and shake of her head. I find all of that difficult to believe, absolutely contradicting many laws of nature and most rules of logic, but for lack of evidence or explanations to the contrary, I am compelled to agree with her. Perhaps I was not genetically inclined to wolfness, but I am so ill-suited to be a productive, SUV driving, suburbanite, that I might as well have been born with grey fur and fangs. I’ve been trying to dance to the music of my soul but it’s a difficult half-step boogie with a bit of techno-polka thrown in. My dream is to keep being me but with more time to write and much less time spent in commercial kitchens. I want to build a shack in the woods with an espresso machine and beer on tap where anyone can come and sit long enough to tell me a story, preferably their story.