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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Action #34: Passing Moment

This is more of a "waging peace" moment than more blatant activism, but I think it worth sharing anyway.

On Friday I was leaving Target and saw a Muslim family. I had left work (in a Jewish day school) so the way ND and I were dressed probably made it seem pretty obvious we were Jewish. This family we saw had a mother, father and two kids. The mother had a hijab -- hence my deduction they were Muslim.

Now I pass Muslim families frequently, and often feel this pull where I want to say, "Don't worry! I'm cool with you!" But there are so many things wrong with that... first, I personally find it really uncomfortable when someone figures out I'm Jewish and wants to point it out, or to make friendly by saying, "Shalom." I'm me and I happen to be Jewish, and don't necessarily want to discuss my faith or my beliefs or associations or any of that. I'm sure the same is true for them as a regular every day family that happens to be from a background that is very loaded right now.

So I considered saying nothing at all, but the truth is, we were kind of eyeing one another, and it was at least possible they were thinking, "Oh crap, here comes another Jew who thinks we're terrorists." I just wanted for our moment passing each other to be one that was calm and had good feeling.

The man was wearing a shirt that said, "Exercise? I thought you said 'extra fries.' " Aha! Personality rather than group identification! So as I passed I smiled and said,

"That's a really funny shirt."

We smiled at each other, and that was it. It probably looked like just a regular every day casual moment, but it was planned, it was deliberate, and I think I achieved a worthwhile goal.

Sometimes small talk is a real pain, but in this case I feel I accomplished a moment of peace with it.

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