Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To New York (Or What Happens When Two Jews Gather On A Bus)

I am in New York City for a few days to see my Dad.  It is also my birthday tomorrow.

I have taken my fair share of buses over the years.  But today was the first time I've ever seen anyone davening on a bus.  Yet that is what a young Hasidic Jew was doing shortly after he boarded the bus in Framingham.

Later on he approached me and asked if I was Jewish.  When I replied in the affirmative he asked me to lay tefillin with him.  I hadn't done it in years but he walked me through it.  I'm not sure what was more embarrassing - what I had forgotten or what I had never known. But there's a first time for everything and this was surely one of those times.  And on this occasion despite my ignorance I found both his davening and my participation in laying the tefillin comforting.

He later introduced himself as Mandel, a Yeshiva student, who was traveling to Crown Heights in Brooklyn to celebrate the High Holidays before going to study in Britain. Crown Heights is the home of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, commences Friday at sundown.

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