The Wandering Jew

IMGP7954New view from our back deck. The path around the lake is precisely 1 mile.

Condemned to eternally wander from place to place? I guess that could describe my life. Born in the US when my father did a residency in Cleveland, lived in Canada in 3 different homes between ages 3-18, a year in Israel on a kibbutz, military service, 10 years as a student in Jerusalem, 4.5 years as a post-doc in Maryland at the National Institutes of Health, and 13 years in Omaha, Nebraska. 2 capitals: Jerusalem and DC.

How many homes? Cleveland: 2, Winnipeg: 3, Israel: 7 + military (I’ll count as “1,” although it was really dozens of places in 3 years), Rockville, MD: 1, Omaha 1 + 1. Total=16. On average, a move every 3 years. Does that qualify for a Wandering Jew, damned to circle the earth until the 2nd coming?

In truth, it isn’t as bad as all that. With a family and career, my last 13 happy years have been all at one residence—until last week. Why move? We loved our house and home. No one left last week without shedding tears. But sometimes change, especially advantageous change, brings freshness, new perspective, and renewal. Once the boxes have been unpacked, or course.

Another reason for the move relates to a career-related issue—an offer and long-drawn out negotiations for a position out of state. The process of seeing a new place, new possibilities, the potential for move and change—even if it didn’t actually occur—helped overcome an inertia barrier. Compared to moving labs and homes, the relocation of just a home—and only 2 miles away, was not as daunting.

Only time will tell whether this Wandering Jew has ultimately found a place to sink roots deep in the ground. But after 13 years in Nebraska, and a move to a house backing onto a lake with beautiful walking paths, it will probably take a lot to drive me away…

Our dining area, until things cool off in the late fall…


Picture window from my bedroom. Can hear frogs and toads at night.

Wide open skies of Nebraska.


The heart of the home; not much artifical light needed.

About Steve Caplan

I am a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska where I mentor a group of students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers working on endocytic protein trafficking. My first lablit novel, "Matter Over Mind," is about a biomedical researcher seeking tenure and struggling to overcome the consequences of growing up with a parent suffering from bipolar disorder. Lablit novel #2, "Welcome Home, Sir," published by Anaphora Literary Press, deals with a hypochondriac principal investigator whose service in the army and post-traumatic stress disorder actually prepare him well for academic, but not personal success. Novel #3, "A Degree of Betrayal," is an academic murder mystery. "Saving One" is my most recent novel set at the National Institutes of Health. Now IN PRESS: Today's Curiosity is Tomorrow's Cure: The Case for Basic Biomedical Research (CRC PRESS, 2021). All views expressed are my own, of course--after all, I hate advertising.
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2 Responses to The Wandering Jew

  1. Amit says:

    Steve, the new house looks great and the view of the lake is pretty amazing…

  2. Yup, looks very nice. Congratulations on the new digs, and that overcoming of inertia. Both good things.

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