I am sorry that I have been absent for so long. I have plenty of ideas on what I want to write about, but I have no energy to actually do it. Maybe next year will be better!
My life is busy and overall enjoyable at the moment. I am not doing much in the area of religious observance other than cover my hair and read Jewish blogs. Which is sort of interesting from a psychology standpoint I guess. But I cannot tell you what it means, as I am not qualified in that area 😉
Relating to hair covering, by now I have been with a hair-covering to talk with customers, at formal events and at a conference. Mostly, there hasn’t been any specific reaction. Sometimes I have had positive comments, mostly that the colors are nice. And I got some more questions about why I cover. Sometimes with a longer talk afterwards, sometimes not. All of them out of real interest an non-threatening.
But three incidents have left me a bit confused and sad (not directly related to hair-covering, more general perceived foreignness). One was a colleague who asked if I was allowed to vote in the next national elections. He knows that I have grown up here and I think he has even seen my CV which states my nationality. But just because I wear a head-covering or just because I am Jewish I am not a citizen in his head? I didn’t want to pursue the issue further, so I didn’t ask why he thought that. Next time was a different colleague and we talked about vacations in the Middle East. And suddenly he turns to me and asks whether I have a European or an Israeli passport. Again, we have worked together for a while, he constantly makes fun of my dialect, so he should know that I have been born here. Here I asked why he would think that I was an Israeli national instead of a citizen of the country I live in and he just said "just because you have been there often". The two things happened in the space of two weeks or so, but I was more confused than anything else. The third incident was when we were walking along a road and there was a sign saying "synagogue" that pointed into one direction. In that direction was a T-shaped crossing and on the other side of the street, so directly where the sign appeared to be pointing to, was some big bank. Somebody said "well, that’s not the synagogue" and somebody replied "but it would fit!". This is text book anti-semitism! But I was way too perplexed to say or do anything.
What is the point of these stories? I don’t know, I just wanted to get them off my chest. I don’t think there is an increase in anti-semitism. If anything, I am more recognizable. I don’t think these people are bad. I think they may need to reflect on their preconceived notions a bit. But more and more I can relate to the sentiment that it is good Israel exists, because that way we have a place to go to if anything happens. Which I hope I will not need in my lifetime.