By Yanki Tauber
One thing I’ve come to realize is that many of us have an innate, enduring loyalty to our preconceptions. We’ll stick with them through thick and thin, no matter what reality sends our way.
I first realized this some twenty years ago when a friend and I, as two young Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical students, spent our summers canvassing the state of Montana looking for Jews. We’d drive from town to town–some of which only had one or two Jewish families–and try to do our bit to encourage Jewish identity and observance.
We were quite a curiosity, and were often featured in the local newspaper. The publicity proved useful in both drawing local Jews out of the woodwork and gaining us a welcome response when we called on people.
One thing irked me though about these newspaper stories. After spending an hour lecturing the reporter on Jewish identity and explaining about Shabbat, kosher, tefillin and mezuzah–what did s/he write about? About the “Two Hasidic Men Wearing Traditional Hasidic Black Hat and Long Black Coat” who’ve rolled into town.
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