2 of the Ninth Month 5772
Last night, a mass of tourist boarded the train. One of them was video recording the inside of the train. One Israeli parent was upset that his baby was being recorded, and gestured the tourist to stop.
I heard that they were Spanish speakers. So, in my broken Spanish, I explained that they should not record anyone without permission.
The tourist said that she was sorry. I then pointed to a hat that one of her group was wearing, and said that was also forbidden. The man took it off, and they said that they were sorry.
That hat was proclaiming praise for the Christian false deity (or false messiah, or both, depending on whom you ask, and what mood he happens to be in...).
You see? They just didn't know, and were quite amenable when they were informed, even when asked to be modest about their religious beliefs.
But, of course, we Jews do not bother to stand up for our laws and customs. We just let people step all over us, even in our own Land! What I did is considered to be hutzpadik (rude)!
A young man from the U. S., sans kippah, standing next to me, turned to me, and said,"They can wear whatever they want. They're not Jewish; we don't have to convert them."
I replied with, "No, they cannot wear whatever they want. It's avodah zarah. There is something called the 7 Misswoth B'nei No'ah, and one of those misswoth is not to do avodah zarah.
"Look. They're not doing anything illegal," he said.
"According to Israeli law, you mean? Dude, there is a higher authority than Israeli law."
I then gave my standard schpiel about how co-dependent we are as Jews, caring more about what other peoples think of us than what God thinks about us, let alone what we think about ourselves.
This Jew and I got off at the same station. I was able to fulfill another one of my duties, that to connecting with my fellow Jews, regardless of background and points of view. I struck up a chat with the Jew who was clearly irked by my interaction with the Christian tourists on the light rail.
I mentioned that my parents would probably be embarrassed by how poor my Spanish is. He asked me how I knew Spanish. I said that as a San Diegan (San Diegenio), it's pretty much a given. We chatted a bit more. Then, as we were about to part ways, I told him that one of the great things about Israel is that two Jews, total strangers, and with very different opinions, like us, can have a conversation deeper than sports and the weather. So, our interaction seemed to end on a pleasant note.
Such is life in Jerusalem, avodah zarah and meeting strangers on a train, the bad dealt with as it should is often followed by good.