Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Jew in the Jungle

Yesterday I saw a Jew. In the middle of San Jose I saw a Jew. Driving a taxi, in the middle of San Jose I saw a Jew.

I have heard rumor of a small but active Jewish community here in San Jose, but I have yet to see a single Jew, until yesterday that is. I have seen signs, not a lot, telling me that Jews are out and about. Real signs, actual signs advertising kosher this and Star of David that. I have even heard rumor of a Jew from New York who lives down here in Pavas making bagels, the best bagels in Costa Rica or so it is said.

This Jew, my Jew, was an Orthodox Jew. He was a real Jew, or at least what I picture as a real Jew. He had on well tailored black suit, white shirt, and black tie. Simple, plain, elegant. Topping his black hair was an unremarkable hat, a black hat, with a medium sized completely round brim. Appearing out of nowhere from under this black circle was a stream of coiled black hair cascading down his cheek like a perfectly curled piece of ribbon covering his neatly trimmed beard and finally arriving just below the corner of his mouth.

To make the situation even more surreal, I was driving in the great capital listening to Matisyahu on my Zune (yes I am one of the two people on earth that uses a Zune, and I love it). Matisyahu is an Orthodox Jew who raps. Matisyahu raps not about bitches and hoes and dope and guns, but about his world, his passions, his Jewishness. I did not intentionally play Matisyahu, my Zune was on shuffle, and of the 150 or so artists, and 1500+ songs on the Zune, one of his 10 came up.

The song was Chop 'em Down which is basically the story of the Exodus from Joseph through Moses. Matisyahu reminds us that the Jews were not at home when they were in Egypt. Their home was elsewhere, they were not Egyptians, they were Israelites. They were called to live like Jews amongst the Egyptian people. Pharoh knew he could not control them, he knew they would always be different, they would always put God above Pharoh.

Joseph rose to power and the yiddin stayed
They started to build and success was made
Pharos getting worried
let's make them pay bound in chains

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