Saturday, December 15, 2007

What is the Quality of your Street?

I heard a speech once in which a rabbi was lamenting the transition in society from a spirit of collectivism and community to a world of individualism. He said: ' Look at our food! We once had kreplach and kneidlach. It was all about lach - (trans.) "to you!" We were looking at the other, how we could contribute to society. But now we have Bis-li, Kef-li, kin-li! It is all about li - =(trans.) - to me. What can I take for myself.'

Now this is simply a cute pun, but there is no doubt of course that we have become more individualistic and look to exercise our personal choices wherever we can. At certain smachot people do not dance in a circle anymore, doing the same step. It is all about my individual style. Society doesn't encourage people to conform and belong to a community, an act that often engenders personal sacrifice. Rather we are told to find our inner selves and to express ourselves etc.

But this speech was dragged up from my subconscious this Shabbat when one of our Shabbat guests brought us a box of English chocolate called "Quality Street." Quality Street has a lovely selection of brightly wrapped chocolates mixed together , each chocolate with different tastes, and you have to decide which one to pick etc. etc.

Now when I was a kid, Quality Street wasn't kosher. When they were added to the famous "list" (link) it was certainly a Yom Tov for Anglo Jewry. But when I was a kid, the motto of Quality Street was:

"Made for Sharing"

I looked on the box and saw that the subtitle, the motto, the marketing pitch has altered. It now reads:

"What's your Favourite?"

From a family sharing a box of chocolates together, we have moved to each person picking their personal favourite. It's not made for sharing any more. It's about me! Well- that sort of sums it all up!

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