12 October 2005

G'mar Chatima Tova

Two days ago, my mother and I went shopping to celebrate the fact that I had a day off of work. A very personable young girl was ringing us up at the register. Next to her stood an older woman, probably in her mid-60s, who was unpacking some new stock. She was quiet; the few words she did speak were spoken in either a German or a Russian accent. Personable enough, she silently packed our hats for us. However, I noticed that as she packed mine, her eyes drifted from my face to my necklace- a Magen David- to the counter. At that moment, my mother happened to compliment her on her necklace; I chimed in. (It was a nice necklace.) She barely said a word.

The young sales associate kept chattering to us, and after eyeing up our bags, said to us "Oh, I'll get you a shopping bag!" When she reached down to get it, the older woman slapped her hands away and grunted at her not to give us a bag. "What are you doing?" the girl asked, taken aback. The woman turned her back to us, cornering the girl and telling her "Don't shout at me!"

Sensing this was an odd situation, I told my mother we ought to move on, and we left. As we were walking away, I filled her in. "She wouldn't let us have a bag. She was yelling at the girl not to give us a bag."

"Why?" my mother asked.

"I don't know, but I swear, after she saw my star, she changed."

"You know, she had a German accent."

"Mmhm. German or Russian. Same thing, though."

"What is this?"

"She wouldn't give us a shopping bag because we're Jews. That's what it is."

"This is nuts. I'm going back there."

"Okay."

So my mother went. The older woman was gone, but the young girl was still there, this time talking to a different sales associate. "I'm so glad you came back," the girl said. "I don't know what happened-- I went to give you a shopping bag, and she wouldn't let me!"

"What?" The other associate asked. "You deserve a shopping bag!"

The next day, my mother returned to the store, and informed the manager of the department of the situation. "This is ridiculous," my mother said to me later. "The way this world is, with all the crap we have to take from Muslims, I'm not dealing with anything from any Nazi."

As we reflect upon our actions of this past year let us, the people of Israel, atone for the sins we have committed, not the sins of the world for which we are unjustly blamed. Above all things let us atone for allowing ourselves to feel too guilty for too long for no reason at all.

May Yeshua haMaschiach who has forgiven all our sins and has, through His own sacrifice, written our names in the Book of Life for eternity, have mercy on Israel and act quickly on our behalf. May we, as the people of Israel, have the trust, strength, and courage, to be a light unto the nations once more, that we may lead the way in praying Baruch Haba b'Shem Adonai.

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