Monday, September 3, 2012

Living on the edge of the Jewish quarter

Living on the inner edge of the Jewish quarter I have a choice when  I go shopping: to the right or straight ahead I'll see the people in their diverse religious attire. Fedora like hats on top of the head, white shirt all in black with the curls along the ears flying while cycling on the boardwalk. Yarmulke's and the fringe of their ceremonial scarfs peeping out from under the coat, while some where long white stockings and large fur hats, which when it rains are covered in a specially designed plastic bag. The women I saw this morning wore all a different color of wig: black or blond, light or dark brown. All wore comfortable flat shoes. The difference between richer and poorer Jews is immediately visible. The poorer women can't afford a good wig, so they wear scarves, either hiding all their hair or a scarf with an attached fringe of hair sticking out.
Since there are also a lot of Polish Jews there are also some good polish shops where you find kefir, other wise only found in the health shop or in the Pakistan shop. I also notice that some peope go to synagogue each morning and on special occasions they'll have palm leaves wrapped in plastic under their arm.
Going left however, I enter the general mainly European stream of peoples, with North Africans and black Africans being part of the mix just as Turkish and oriental people. A friend once called me on the fact that when one is at a local police station and does not speak the local language that one has to bring an interpreter. She was totally offended by this and thought the city should have the interpreters on call. So I got curious and asked how many languages were present in the small old jail, where people who have been picked up wait for their first meeting with the judge. The answer was a to me staggering amount of 76 languages. So the menu is from kosher to halal, from bio dynamic to straightforward meat, potatoes and veggies... All in walking distance. Wonderful.
What I don't understand is that the protests against the scarfs Muslim women wear and the acceptance of the same principle in a different execution in the Jewish community. In both cases the hair of women is supposed to for private viewing only.

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