Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Doing Jewish Stuff in Israel

I'm a little behind in my reading of The International Jerusalem Post. So it's an interesting confluence that today, after I just wrote about how jarring it can be to really pay attention to all the ways we adapt our traditional Jewish ways to life in America, I see this article in the November 30-December 6, 2007 issue.

Herb Keinon writes about the exact corollary to my point:

ONE OF the things we take for granted here [in Israel] is that you can do all that Jewish stuff that looks extremely odd to the uninitiated without feeling overly self-conscious.

You can walk out of synagogue on a cloudless Saturday night once a month and pray while glancing at the moon [Kiddush Levana] without people thinking you a lunatic. You can use a cup to alternately pour water three times over each hand before eating bread without people thinking you obsessive-compulsive. And you can walk with tzitzit sticking inadvertently out of your pants without someone believing your undergarments are in disrepair.
Years ago, while a university student in Boulder, Colorado, a few tzitzit strands were sticking out of my pants as I traipsed across the campus. A fellow student, obviously thinking she was doing me a great kindness, stopped and said, "Sucker, yo' underwear be unraveling."


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