Seinfeld at the Kotel
“Dog bites man is not news,” so often the good stuff goes unreported or underreported. We offer here a few anecdotes about Kiddush Hashem, and how easy it can be.
Jerry Seinfeld came to the Kotel last leyl Shabbos. He danced with a minyan. It was going well. No one harassed him, no one charged him with participating in the corruption of American culture through the accursed visual media. Perhaps no one recognized him.
But then someone did. A guy in chassidishe levush i.e. wearing a bekeshe spotted him and sauntered over. Went straight up to him, and said, “Jerry, welcome home!”
Jerry will not be coming back to the States with hateful stories about haredim.
A Muslim friend of mine almost didn’t fare as well. He is really a good guy, who has worked hard for Jewish interests. He came to the kotel during the week, and was set upon by meshulachim. He responded by taking out his wallet, and handing out money. One of the recipients apparently noticed that the name in his wallet wasn’t Kahan but Khan. He then noticed his darker complexion. He came back to him, threw the money at him, and said, “I don’t take from your kind.”
My friend responded, “That’s OK. I can respect that.”
The meshulach walked away, but his place was quickly taken by an older gentleman who had seen what transpired. He walked up to my friend and gave him a big embrace, and kissed him.
B”H, the second gentleman made the stronger impression.
Meanwhile, a haredi soup kitchen in Boro Park made it into the Jerusalem Post (I read it on The Yeshiva World ) for offering to its clientele – Jews and non-Jews, a Thanksgiving menu of cholent and turkey. According to the story, local residents were calling in advance to volunteer to help out in serving.
It doesn’t always take so much to burst negative stereotypes.
“It doesn’t always take so much to burst negative stereotypes.”
You’re right. The question is how long the positive effect lasts. Mark my words – you will not find these stories posted in Dovbear, Harry M., Failed Messiah or any of the other Hareidi-“loving” blogs.
When it’s all said and done, we have to behave properly because it’s the right thing to do, not in order to burst negative stereotypes. The amound of “tov” that emanates from our community far outweighs the “rah” but that has never stopped those bent on ignoring the “Tov” and I suspect it’ll take more than a few more good stories to accomplish that/
“Dog bites man is not news,” so often the good stuff goes unreported
Truly heartwarming are these two stories. But as you indicated, the only thing that makes the news is the the ‘man bites dog’ stories. Isn’t it sad though that these stories are in fact newsworthy rather than the stuff of every day fare?
“It doesn’t always take so much to burst negative stereotypes”
– the best way is to not be guilty of those things that cause the stereotype in the first place
Jewish Observer: the best way is to not be guilty of those things that cause the stereotype in the first place
Ori: You’re right, but stereotypes apply to groups. If some ex-Israelis in the US are rude, there will be a stereotype that applies to me. I’ll probably have to be extra-polite to burst it – not because I was guilty in the first place, but because somebody else was.
Stereotypes come from a belief system, in other words, “My belief is since chicken tops are costlier, they are tastier and when served shows elegance and refinement of the host”. IS THIS TRUE? It does not matter since it is my belief, and stereotypes originate in our belief systems.
Belief systems are based on an accumulation of experiences, education, values & cultural norms that an individual is exposed to. Can a belief system be CHANGED? YES, if desired and with much difficulty!!
Acts of Kiddush Hashem are wonderful to discuss and they should be discussed. However, acts of Chillul Hashem should not be covered up where such cover-ups can lead to harm. This causes me to wonder why, to my knowledge, no one from Cross-Currents has weighed in about the problem of child sexual abuse in the Orthodox community which has been in the news of late (such as the Kolko and Mondrovitz cases–by the way mention of these names is clearly not loshon hara).
Whatever one thinks may be gained by not discussing such issues in terms of trying to maintain or boost our image, that gain is tremendously outweighed by the potential harm that can be caused to our children by our lack of outrage and concern to face a problem that clearly exists. Indeed, this lack of courage to discuss and face a severe problem is likely a Chillul Hashme in and of itself.
No one from Cross-Currents has weighed in about the problem of child sexual abuse in the Orthodox community
Comment by Ken Applebaum
Perhaps no one at CC has any insider information that would it make it worthwhile saying anything! To the best of my knowledge, none of the senior contributors has any relationship with Kolko or Mondrovitz. Is there really a point to any of us officiously repeating platitudes?
I have heard (and given!) shiurim on the need to go straight to the secular authorities when anyone has information about a predator on the loose. Exploding the myth of an absolute ban on “mesirus” is about the most important contribution that can be made to outing the evildoers. And it has been exploding a-plenty.