Remembering on Yom Hasho'a
To the Editor:
It's 5:05 in the morning, the sky is still dark as dawn
approaches. A bearded ultra-orthodox Jewish man is walking to
synagogue for his morning prayers wearing a black kippa
and tallis over his head and shoulders. The
streets are empty and quiet, except for the Jew and a lone
man, bare- headed, walking down the street in the opposite
direction, taking his dog for its early morning walk. Not
another soul in sight.
The men, on the same side of the street, walk silently and
steadily towards each other, one hardly noticing the other.
As they approach, the Jew looks up at the old man
anticipating perhaps a good morning or a greeting nod. The
old man looks up at the Jew.
Immediately, without a word exchanged, the old man again
looks down, twists his head to gain momentum, twists back and
spits at the Jew and begins to shout at him curses and
insults: "Dirty Dog!!", "Parasite!", "Stinking...!!"
The dog starts barking as the old man looks around, searching
-- unsuccessfully -- for a rock to throw. As the Jew keeps
walking, quickly distancing himself, the old man turns back
the other way and continues walking his normal course,
cursing and groaning under his breath.
The street is once again empty, silent and still.
What happened? An echo from prewar Berlin? Another act of
hate on the streets of modern-day Paris? Perhaps anti-Israel
sentiment in Buenos Aires?
Not at all, my friends. That Jew was me and the old man was
not a gentile. He was a non-religious Jew. Today is Sunday,
May 5, 2003. This happened less than 24 hours ago in the
heart of Jerusalem's Ramot Alef neighborhood on the holy
Sabbath day. We are now several days after the secular
Holocaust Remembrance Day of 2003.
We all want the gentiles to learn the lessons of hatred after
the Holocaust. But it seems that there are lessons to be
learned much closer to home.
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