By Scott Baker
The streets of Manhattan! New York City! Millions of special characters, special stories! Decorating the scenery here are the young Hassidic Jewish men who wear their long coats and hats on the hottest days of Summer, the most freezing days of Winter, who try to assemble men from the streets to perform a Jewish ritual blessing.
They will approach a total stranger and ask, “Excuse me, Sir, but are you Jewish?”
For years, I had considered them an annoyance. I would respond with the kind of answer you might expect if you had paid a two-drink minimum. My response was cheap, vulgar and left them confused, not at all understanding my sense of “humor.”
A couple of years ago, I was approached by two of these gentlemen. I had decided to change things around just a bit.
“Excuse me, Sir, but are you Jewish?”
“No, but I like to follow in the steps of someone who was!”
Both men smiled, then began to laugh. I had made a loving connection with perfect strangers on the street! I guess they weren’t expecting a faith-based response! They must deal with a lot of mean-spiritedness! I had made friends!
The change to a kind response made all the difference in the world!