The Arab Selling KLP Ice Cream

The Arab Selling KLP Ice Cream
My 11-year-old Yaakov has been complaining since Purim about not being able to eat Kitniyot on Pesach like his Sephardi friends do. His friends are feasting on bamba, caramel corn, and rice, while Yaakov is left, as he puts it, ‘With the 3 words that because of them I hate being Ashkenazi, ‘Gefilte, fish, and carrot!'”
My Persian neighbor, Moshiach, quipped this week on his whatsapp status, “To my Sephardi friends, happy holiday! To my Ashkenazi friends, have an easy fast!” When Yaakov heard that he did not smile.
Today I took Yaakov and his younger brother, Yoni, to a national park. When we were about to leave, Yaakov ran ahead to the kiosk by the entrance to choose out ice creams for the ride home.
“Don’t forget to check which ice creams are kitniyot free!” I called after him.
By the time we reached the entrance, Yaakov was prepared with a full report on which ice creams we could eat. Quite a few, surprisingly. On the way to back to the car, Yaakov told me in an unusually serious tone:
“There were two sellers at the kiosk, one was an Arab and the other was a Jew. When I asked them which ice creams are kitniyot-free, the Arab turned to the Jew with disdain and said, ‘Look at that, a little boy is asking about kitniyot and YOU don’t even keep kosher at all!”
Yaakov was, I saw, surprised but also proud that the Arab respected him because he respects his own tradition. I’m certain Yaakov won’t be complaining anytime soon about kitniyot.
It’s an important lesson, a lesson for life, that non-Jews respect Jews who respect Judaism. That non-Jews respect us as much as we respect ourselves.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

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