These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on September 12, 2011 by Shibley

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A few years ago, I had the privilege and the pleasure of living in Manhattan while I was learning at Yeshivat Hadar. New York is well known as a center of culture, arts, business, and the like. There is also a significant population of weirdos in New York, as in any city. I developed two theories about weird, eccentric, off-beat people, or whatever label you’d prefer. The first is that there is a certain percentage of people in the world who the majority would classify as “weird,” and because of New York’s population and population density, the weird folk are more visible. The alternate theory states that because of New York’s reputation as a cultural center, people are more “tolerant”, and therefore being weird is more permissible. I am not sure to which theory I subscribe.

Now, you’re probably asking what does this have anything to do with my life in Jerusalem? Sorry if you like suspense, because here’s the reason. It is not uncommon to see things here that make you think, or say, “only in Jerusalem.” Usually such happenings are related to some aspect of Jewish life, Israelis, or Arabs. Recently however I saw two unexpected sites. The first was a well-dressed young man walking down the street brushing his teeth, totally unconcerned about the lack of a sink, toothpaste, or any of the typical teeth brushing materials. The second site, a group of older men clad in plaid flannel pajamas boarding a bus. It’s very uncommon to see people covered up, for religious reasons, even during the heat of the day. I am unaware of any religion that wears flannel plaid pajamas in public, in the summer. If you find one, let me know.

Hebrew word of the day: mivreshet shinayim (Tooth brush)