Years ago my son named Tzfat residents "the Alternative Crowd" (when we were at a community picnic and he, then aged 14, told me that he had seen exactly what a number of them were smoking (in my defense, I had gone back to town to pick up some other picnickers when the alleged incident took place). Anyway, since then, we talk about my friends as the "alternative crowd."
Anyway, the name "alternative crowd" has stuck, at least in our family, and my Shabbat guests are often members of this group. today, for example, I thought that if I ever write my book about Safed's residents (a dream of mine -- to interview some of the dozens of people with fascinating stories of how they ended up here) I would start with all of the people sitting at the table with us. There was a guy who used to be involved in the entertainment industry in LA, another guy who had once hitchhiked around the world (lots of stories about Afghanistan), a lady whose ancestors came from Jamaica and, evidently, were converted to Judaism there (her grandmother had Jewish traditions and rituals that she had observed), another "flower child" who had her first baby at age 14 in New Orleans and homeschooled her kids in the mountains of Tennessee, a former-Protestant/former-Catholic/now Orthodox Jew from Wisconsin.....it simply wasn't boring, especially when everyone added in their thoughts, experiences and opinions.
Anyway, one of these days, I'm going to write that book.