Thursday, September 2, 2010

Street Diplomacy

While history [hopefully] is being made across the street at the State Department, a bit of history was made in front of our building today. During forty years living in D.C. I've never seen Hasidic Jews in my neighborhood. A black van loaded with several men in side locks, black hats and long, black coats parked and its occupants ate their lunch. I admit little knowledge of this conservative, Jewish group. However, I do know they wear layers of traditional garments. The temperature today is in the 90s with equally high humidity and unrelenting, searing sunshine. Seeing these men standing in the sun and sitting in a sweltering black van, I felt really sorry for them. Even while they took a break for lunch, they tried interesting passersby in printed materials, I assume, regarding their mission in D.C. Nearly everyone walked by without even acknowledging them. They didn't show any sign of resentment or anger. Then this gracious young man stopped and struck up a conversation. He was polite and engaged and I was so proud of him.

2 comments:

Mark said...

That's a neat little story. Who knows, maybe the guys life was changed that day and you captured it on camera.
Or maybe he was just a individual with manners and was being nice enough to listen to the gentlemen.
Either way, good stuff.

dcpeg said...

Thanks, Mark. I was afraid posting it might offend someone,but it was meant as a compliment for the young guy who stopped. So many people just walked by and I felt sorry for the guys in the black hats.

Maybe I shouldn't, but I frequently worry that visitors to D.C. see us as all simply as pompous bureaucrats without hearts. Neither your daughter nor I fit that description, so I go out of my way to be helpful and/or sympathetic.