I just have to share…

I had the wierdest conversation this Shabbat and I need to share it here.

I was approached in the lobby, while holding one of my small children friends, and the conversation went as follows…

Man: Hi, are you a member here?

Me: Yes.

Man: How long have you been coming here?

Me: About three years…

Man:  Oh, its my first time.

Me: Welcome! What brings you here?

Man: I don’t normally go to places like this. Do you know what Orthodox is? Where men wear black hats?

Me: Yes, I do.

Man: Do you know the Westside*?

Me: I know of it, but have never spent time there.

Man: Well thats where I normally daven.

Me: So what brings you here?

Man: I’m friends with Cantor Firstname Lastname.**

Me: Oh really? He’s great.

Man: Ya. I’m not used to this though. It’s so weird. Where I go men and women sit seperate. {Pause – in accusatory tone} Oh, you don’t like that huh?

Me: No, I’m actually totally ok with it. We go to LocalMOShul sometimes too.

Man looks confused.

Me: Modern Orthodox Shul, on the East side?

Man (again with accusatory tone): Well, if you go there – why are you here?

Me: We like both communities.

Man looks puzzled.

Me: Enjoy your visit! Shabbat Shalom! *put down kid and go back into sanctuary*

This man stayed through services and for awhile at kiddush in the Sukkah. He proceeded to tell everyone he met that he was only there b/c he knows Cantor and that this is his first and last visit and was mean and rude to all of our nice congregants who kept greeting him and welcoming him.  Why did this bug me so much?!

I noticed during kiddush that he was wearing one of the kippot we keep at the entrance*** to the shul. Not the sort any person who wears a kippah outside of shul would ever be seen wearing. I think that was the final straw in the whole thing bugging me – as judgemental as that sounds, its my truth.

We have had many Orthodox Rabbis come to be a part of the community smachot (celebrations) as kids who go to local day schools and families who are involved elsewhere in the community invite them.  They have never been anything but kind.  They may or may not pray in our sanctuary/eat our food, but they come and they do what they do and don’t make a big deal out of if.  So who does this guy think he is being Mr High&Mighty about praying in an Orthodox shul while berating his kind Shabbat hosts? Ugh!

*The “Westside” is the local Yeshivish community.

** No one who is close with him actually uses his full name.

*** There is no mistaking this. Don’t tell me I’m jumping to conclusions. It is.


10 thoughts on “I just have to share…

    • All we know is what he told us – and it was consistently the same. (Many people were discussing this interesting visitor at an open sukkah party in the community later on in the afternoon b/c it felt weird to them too…)

  1. How unfortunate. Besides the blatant rudeness I get the impression he doesn’t sound “all-there”. Either way he certainly doesn’t give us black-hatters a great name lol.

  2. It sounds like he was really out of his comfort zone and was compensating poorly. But about the kippa thing… as I have learned more and more (especially here) just because they do or don’t do something doesn’t mean they don’t go to a specific shul… though you would think he would have a pocket kippa. People aren’t always conscious of their hypocritical ways.

    Why he even felt the need to talk to you when he is so used to separate seating is interesting too.


    • I agree that what one does or doesn’t do is a poor indicator of where one davens, however this man wasn’t just saying as a response to a “I haven’t seen you before” type comment that he davened there, it was a diatribe to anyone who would listen. It was an overall odd encounter for sure.

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