re the Jewish thing... I have a Jewish childhood friend, used to live in NJ long-term, and have village German family by the dozen, so I do know the loud argumentative thing. One of my best memories is this friend and I, sitting in Germany together (he used to swing by on the way back from his Grandma's place in Haifa while I lived there) over a couple of bottles of that delicious white wine Germans make, and arguing over the existence of God, of all things!! We argued until dawn... and it was a stalemate... (he against, me for - back when he was only culturally Jewish. Now he is married with kids and goes to a Reform temple - ha! Remind me to tell you about his wedding - it was wild...).
I was in heaven - finally, someone who had my talk gene AND didn't buckle under some serious disagreement!