A heiliga reader from the far-right of the Judaism's Conservative sect has been explaining to me that some Conservative clergy go to rabbinical school to learn how to be Jewish. As a result, they have plenty of book knowledge, but not the cultural experience.
I find that very interesting because the cultural stuff, the stuff so many of my neighbors consider essential to Judaism, could have worked out differently. There's no good reason why the Eastern European food, for example, won out. The Moroccan or Persian dishes, for example, could have been what we all consider Jewish food, instead. Same with dress and pronunciations, and, well, everything.
Sometimes I try to imagine an Orhtodox Judaism that's every bit as halachic as ours, yet looks, tastes and feels completely different. Then I remember: Even the halachic parts weren't inevitable.
It all could have been so different.