Monday, February 05, 2007

Unexpected Judaism

One of the beautiful features of life here in Israel when one encounters Jewish identity, observance and pride in the most unexpected circumstances.

Today, I went to order a new pair of glasses (spectacles!) I was discussing with the salesman the merits of different lenses as regards their strength and thickness. And he mentioned that one type of lens goes yellow with time as it "absorbs." I looked puzzled. And then my non-kippa wearing salesman began his explanation: " You know how Sephardim use glassware for milk and meat, but not plastic. That is because glass doesn't absorb whereas plastic does!" And then applied it the lenses! He completed his halakhic lecture with the line:
תראה! עכשיו קיימנו את המצוה ללמוד תורה היום! .
In other words; Look! We just fulfilled our obligation to learn Torah today!
And he flashed me a proud smile.

I just love it!

I love buying food in a café, listening on when the young bare-midriffed waitress asks the trendy waiter whether he wants a coffee. And then to hear his reply: "No I just ate meat!" Or the time I went to purchase a shaver. I picked out a particular model from the shelf and then the sales assistant cautioned me that that particular model did not have halakhic approval.

We must never forget not to judge people by their outward appearance. And it would be good to remember just how deep Jewish observance runs in all sectors of our beautiful country.

1 comment:

lycralout said...

Your observation is so true. Each year, my family and I celebrate the annual February half-term holiday here in the U.K. with a trip to Eilat -- in fact we're flying over later this week. Each year we find ourselves grinning as the young Israelis at the hotel, almost entirely Sephardi as far as we can tell, move smoothly from the electronic games machines to kiddush. Bar-midriffs, ultra-mini skirts, ripped jeans, dirty T-shirts, whatever they happen to be wearing, they stand attentively, heads covered with paper napkins or some of the hotel's cheap giveaway kipot, making kiddush. For me it's one of the highlights of the trip.