June 16, 2024
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June 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover, Indeed

I was stunned by the incident related by Rabbi Jachter in his column this past week in The Jewish Link (“An Eye-Opening Episode on the Way to the Tel Aviv Beit Din,” January 31, 2019). I should point out that I read R. Jachter’s column on Sephardic practices regularly and deeply admire and respect him. It is for that reason that I found his story of the taxi in Tel Aviv so disturbing. R. Jachter assumes that the reason the woman refused to ride with him and his son was because of pure sinat chinam, baseless hatred. Unless there is more to the story that he has not shared, how does he know that? Is it not possible that this woman had experienced an unfortunate situation with a charedi individual in the past (e.g., on an El Al flight) and decided to avoid repeating it? Did R. Jachter attempt to engage this woman in conversation to understand her anxiety and possibly allay her concerns? Moreover, imagine if he and his son, reading the situation, immediately jumped out of the cab and offered it to her (“We’ll grab the next one”). Who knows how that might have changed this woman’s perception of charedim/Orthodox Jews and forced her to realize that, no matter what her reasons for refusing to ride with the Jachters, she should never stereotype and give all people a chance. That would have been a true Kiddush Hashem.

Robert Friedman
Teaneck
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