Friday, September 14, 2007

A Meeting in Park Slope

For all of the reasons to feel ambivalent, at best, about living in New York -- reasons I've been documenting with some regularity -- it's good to be reminded of the many reasons to love it. And one of those is that random, funny things happen on the street all the time.

In my Brooklyn neighborhood, there are often Orthodox Jewish men standing on corners, asking people who walk by if they're Jewish. My answer is no, and initially I figured this was the answer they were looking for, in order to make a pitch, but then I remembered it's Christians who are the proselytizers. So I've often been tempted to say yes, just to see what type of conversation would follow.

This morning, a Jewish friend and I were walking together when we passed an Orthodox young man (probably 17 or so) holding a shofar, a horned instrument. He asked if we were Jewish. Neither of us broke stride. I said, "No, I'm not," and my friend said, "Never met a Jew."

We stopped further down the block, preparing to go separate ways, and I asked my friend if he knew what a "yes" would bring. He wasn't sure. Then we turned to see the teenager approaching us with a smile on his face.

"Would you like to hear the shofar?" he said, holding up the horn. "It's Rosh Hashanah."

"Yeah, I've heard," my friend said. "Now, what if we said we were Jewish? What would happen?"

"I would ask if you wanted to hear the shofar."

"That's it? That's all that would happen?"

"Yes."

"OK, I'm Jewish."

"I guessed that," the young man said, smiling again.

"How'd you guess?" my friend asked sarcastically, pointing to his face. "It was the nose, right?"

"No. Only a Jew would say, 'Never met a Jew.' "

6 Comments:

Anonymous Paul said...

Oy veh !

10:41 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

LOVE it. Only thing better than NY humor is Jewish NY humor. Can't wait to pass that one on.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

And I just did, in a post on my blog. And now in an email to family members, none of whom ever read my blog! They're too busy watching the Yankees.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Passed on it to my (non religious) Jewish husband. He thought it was hysterical :)

11:40 PM  
Blogger litelysalted said...

Wait -- do you live in Williamsburg?

11:01 AM  
Blogger JMW said...

Nope, Park Slope.

9:38 PM  

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