Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Jerusalem Anecdote

Yesterday I was in the Malcha Mall picking up some school supplies for my daughter. School starts on Sunday throughout Israel and it was a veritable festival of excited schoolchildren (and harried parents) as the mall was filled with colourful stalls displaying every kind of pen and notebook, eraser, glue and pencilcase, and much more.

As I went to pay, I spotted out of the corner of my eye, a familiar figure. It was Nobel prize winner, Prof. Yisrael Aumann. He was there with his grandson, and apparently purchasing a new school backpack for First Grade. You could see an oversized sparkling new "tik Kitta Aleph" on the back of a rather little boy. And Yisrael Aumann bent over and gave his grandson a tender kiss on his head as he was now fully equipped to attend his first day at school.

What can I say? I was emotionally moved by the scene. It's not every day that you run into an Israeli Nobel prize winner, and it was a very touching moment to see this intellectual giant send his little grandson happily on his way to First Grade. Yisrael Aumann who is so clearly religious, really inspired me when he accepted his prize last year, and this was just a wonderful moment.

So I excitedly pointed him out to the lady behind the checkout,

"Do you know who that is?" I said, "It's Yisrael Aumann!"
"Who's he?" She asked.
"He won the Nobel Prize" I said.
"What did he win it for ?" She asked with a totally blank and bored expression.
"Economics, Game Theory," I said.
"Well, did he get any money for it?" She remarked.

And suddenly I realised that this lady had no clue who this man was, and maybe didn't even know what a Nobel Prize was!

The moral of the story? - Get an education!

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