Frum Jews at Lake Roland

Frum Jews at Lake Roland

I went on an hour-long nature walk this morning at beautiful Lake Roland, about a 10-minute drive from my childhood home.

And as I walked, every five minutes or so I would receive a friendly “Good Morning” from somebody who reminded me of the parents or grandparents of my old Friends School classmates. By which I mean that they looked more like LL Bean-catalog models than my neighbors back in Jerusalem.
And then I saw 3 people in a row approaching me. And the girl was wearing a skirt. Could it be? Naa…Probably not.
But as they got closer, I saw a kippah on the head of the girl’s father.
And they weren’t the only ones. A few minutes later, after passing a few more friendly LL Bean models, I sighted another father wearing a kippah and learning from a sefer as his 3 young daughters swung on swings at the playground.
I was surprised by how that felt, to suddenly see a visibly observant Jew in a place where there usually aren’t. To see how an observant Jew stands out. Like a lone shell in a bucket of sand. Or a lone flower in a grassy yard.
That’s not how I feel in Jerusalem. At all. Where most people I see look religious.
But at Lake Roland, to see an observant Jew like that, out of the blue, felt like I was hearing a sudden, distant shofar blast, calling out, “Don’t forget, there are Torah and Mitzvot and Hashem!”

When I walk around the neighborhood I grew up in, dressed as an Orthodox Jew, I don’t feel so comfortable. I think the people who see me must think I’m a religious fanatic. A freak. But maybe, just maybe, some people see me and see a lone flower in a grassy yard. And they are reminded for the first time in a long time, “Hey, that lady is Jewish and that reminds me… I’m actually a Jew too.”

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