Yesterday I was down in Concord to see Huckabee and McCain. While there, a small group of anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews held a banner asking the presidential candidates to note not all Jews support the state of Israel. I’ll admit the first thing I thought when I saw these men was “wow, now there’s something you don’t see often: Hasidic Jews* in New Hampshire!” I went over to video tape their message. After I was finished I said “thank you gentleman” although none of the responded to me.
As I was standing on the rope line to question McCain on how he’s going to pay for the Iraq War (“there’ll be a tax burden” is what he said), one of the Neturei Karta men came up and stood next to me. He had literature he wanted McCain to read. I’m aware of some prohibitions in the Jewish faith, such as a woman who is not the mother or wife of a Jewish man cannot touch him, so I tried very, very hard to keep from touching him. However, the crowd was pushy and there were a few times our bodies touched.
As we were waiting I said to him “may I make a suggestion?” He didn’t seem too pleased but he said “yes.” I then suggested he put one flyer in his left hand and put the rest in his pocket. Then I suggested he put his right hand out as to shake McCain’s hand and when McCain reached for it to put the flyer into his hand instead. He followed my suggestion and got his literature into the candidate’s hand. He then gave me a grudging thank you, which I took as a good sign, but he never made eye contact with me.
I’m not at all an expert in the prohibitions of other religions besides the basics–no meat on Fridays for Catholics, no pork for Jew or Muslims and circumcision for them both, vegetarism for Buddhists.–but I do try to be aware of some of the basic prohibitions. The man I encountered yesterday wasn’t rude but he barely acknowledged me. So I wonder if I was out of line to speak to him at all. Should I stay silent next time (I’m assuming there’s a next time) or should I act the same?
*I was basing my identification of the men based on their appearance. Bad me!