An excellent article on everything SeaTac V. Chabad Rabbi. Trust me, it’s worth the read.
“One thing I’ve come to realize is that many of us have an innate, enduring loyalty to our preconceptions. We’ll stick with them through thick and thin, no matter what reality sends our way.
I first realized this some twenty years ago when a friend and I, as two young Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical students, spent our summers canvassing the state of Montana looking for Jews. We’d drive from town to town–some of which only had one or two Jewish families–and try to do our bit to encourage Jewish identity and observance.
We were quite a curiosity, and were often featured in the local newspaper. The publicity proved useful in both drawing local Jews out of the woodwork and gaining us a welcome response when we called on people.
One thing irked me though about these newspaper stories. After spending an hour lecturing the reporter on Jewish identity and explaining about Shabbat, kosher, tefillin and mezuzah–what did s/he write about? About the “Two Hasidic Men Wearing Traditional Hasidic Black Hat and Long Black Coat” who’ve rolled into town.
The black hat part was true. Below the neck, however, we wore ordinary business suits. In all fairness to the reporters, these do tend toward the darker end of the color spectrum. Still, we weren’t in town to promote traditional hasidic garb, and we’d have much preferred that the article focus on the more substantive parts of our message.
So one day we left our hats in the car. My partner wore a light grey suit to the interview, and I put on the most light-colored garment I owned–a light-tan plaid sports jacket.
Sure enough, the next day’s paper ran a full-sized photograph of our two hatless, light-and-short-coated selves posed in front of the newspaper building. I held a pair of tefillin, and my partner a Shabbat candlestick. The caption under the photograph read: “Tauber, 21, and Begun, 22, two hasidic rabbis sporting the traditional black hat and long black coat, visit Montana on mission.”
I was reminded again of how attached people can be to their preconceptions when seeing the news reports on the menorah controversy at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.”