by Kevin Alfred Strom
THERE IS A VERY STRANGE gradient in the Washington, DC area. It’s a biological and cultural gradient. It runs from the almost entirely Black sections of Northwest Washington — where filth abounds and boarded-up falling-apart crack houses alternate with liquor outlets and “beauty supply” stores — through Bethesda and nearby Montgomery County, Maryland — where the Jewish governmental elite and middle management live; jam-packed with synagogues, temples, Jewish organizational headquarters, late model Mercedes, tacky and not-so-tacky multimillion-dollar homes, and a Jewish Community Center larger than some small cities. The two ends of the gradient are very different — I’ve been there and experienced both — but there’s no real boundary. There’s a lot of overlap. And sometimes that makes things interesting.