Amber and I were walking very fast to the Subway from our apartment yesterday, trying to get her to an audition on time. It was Saturday, and there usually isn't an audition on Saturday, and Saturday, as you know, is a sacred day for the Jews. It is the Sabbath or "Shabbat" mean "to cease." So we were rushing out right about the time the Jews were filing out of the MASSIVE Jewish synagogue that is right down the street from us.
We live in a neighborhood that is primarily Jewish. I see more Yarmulkes every day then I used to see shotguns in the back of trucks in Texas. Honestly, I sorta want a Yarmulke. I got to wear one when we attended a Jewish Passover, hosted by Gerald and Staci Holtzman, our dear friends in Houston, and I thought it was pretty cool.
Okay, scene set, established a little history, and on with the mystical experience...
In our rush to the subway, a big Jewish family filed out of the synagogue in front of us, and started walking VEEEERY slowly the same direction we were going. We actually wondered if the slow walking had something to do with the Sabbath, considering the fact that during the rest of the weekdays, the Jewish folk seem to walk at a pretty good clip.
Well, it took us about 3 seconds to catch up with them and for some reason, instead of passing them by, we were just sort of swallowed by the group and started walking slowly with them. Weirder still, was that we didn't seem to mind. The man in front of us had his son sitting on his shoulders and his wife beside him had a child on each hand. The rest just walked beside and behind us, unaffected by our presence. Everyone wore black. About 12 steps into the walking, an old man walking to my right, unaffected by our presence, started singing a Jewish song, very softly. On cue, the wind blew softly down the street and the sun peeped thought the trees from central park at the end of the street. Besides feeling a little Prince-of-Egypt'd, I was suddenly stricken again by the significance of the Jewish people.
I was stricken with the fact that this, right here, is how it’s been for four or five thousand years. In my mind flashed images of the Israelites walking in the Desert, Jacob and his family traveling to Egypt, the Exile in Babylon, the rule of Herod, the Holocaust. God's people. The people to which God chose to show himself and establish his law, the people from which God chose to shine his light to the whole world, by descending from heaven, to dwell among us. I walk by the Rodeph Sholom Temple everyday and in huge letters, carved above the temple entrance is written "Do Justly,Love Mercy, Walk Humbly With Your God." I can't think of a better thing to be reminded of the first thing in the morning.
A great and beautiful people.