My two dogs are enjoying their Saturday post-breakfast walk, sticking their noses in the snow, still pristine from the night before.
“See the doggies?”
I look up to see a beautiful young mother, with long brown hair, tilting her stroller so her baby can get a better look at the dogs. Her husband, standing beside her, smiles. I notice his yarmulke; they are Orthodox Jews walking home from synagogue.
Usually I feel a sense of otherness when I encounter the many Orthodox Jews who live in my neighborhood. For one, my father raised me to be repelled by any type of extremism, particularly of a religious nature. I feel some embarrassment at the the large numbers of children many of these families have, the way the women cover their hair, arms and legs, their insularity—their kids go to private Jewish schools. The Orthodox Jews in my neighborhood, I don’t believe, view secular Jews as their people any more than we do them. One day, when I greeted a woman with a “Gut Yontiff,” her jaw dropped, and a bemused smile crossed her face.