Monday, August 06, 2007

A kiss on the 3 train

All is black

Except for the white girl on the train

A silent car

Piercing with the stares of the many

The white girl is mumbling

No, reading


Swaying a little bit?

People are looking


She looks different

And shes moving her lips

Another train mumbler

Except this time she is white

And not drunk


The girl drops her little book

Her holy book

It makes a smacking sound on the ground

Opening the eyes of the man across from her

And bringing the attention of the many

While she had already felt a little odd

Mumbling on the train and all

In what seemed like an hour

She thought to herself

As she stretched out her hand to pick up King David's words

Would she give her habit free reign on the train?

She picked up her little brown book

Her holy book

She stared it in the eye

She brought it close

She kissed the little brown book

And you know what?

Stranger things have been seen on the 3 line


Der Shygetz said...

:) Was the girl you by any chance? If so, as an out of towner, does it seem unusual for you to be reading tehillim on the subway? The fact is that a frum Yid davening or learning from a sefer on public transportation is as much a part of the landscape of Brooklyn, and even Manhattan, as lehavdil, a swarthy substance abuser being caught during a harebrained attempt at shoplifting from a neighborhood Associated or Duane Reade.

I actually saw someone who claimed to be Buddhoo (we don't write his real name either) on the A train once, but save for a Yoshke freak wearing tekheles tzitzis (and lehavdil, our dear Charlie Buttons), I never noticed anyone even remotely strange on the 2, the 3, the 4 or the 5.

BH I do notice many people reading Tehillim on the lines which service CH; I try to get on the same car with them so that there is strength in numbers, begashmius uberuchnius.

shloime said...

the black sisters do chitus too from the new testmant (the one they dont teach in beis rivkha )

e. said...

lol, lol, Mimi, you should have seen the bochur who decided, to lay his tefillin in an over filled 4 train, running very late in the early afternoon, now that's a look you could watch on the young sista's face...

Der Shygetz said...

That is true, Shloime - and the black women and girls who do read such material on the train tend to be respectfully dressed, quiet and polite. Actually, I have seen immigrant Muslims read their sefer hasinah openly on the train as well.

In any case, no one has to be ashamed or feel strange reading tehillim, davening or learning on NY mass transit. We are as much a part (well, I won't be anymore as of Thursday) of the fabric of New York City as anyone else is.

what's pink & red & sweet all over? said...

The Chabad PDA.

Some have no shame in other public displays of affection...

It's priceless that our most Private Selves is that of reverence for G!dliness.

I guess the awareness of the public's intrusion into our sacred whispers is a shame to be proud of. (*blush*)

Der Shygetz said...

This reminds me of a time when I had to daven Mincha in a mall which is frequented by many Jews. I decided that rather than finding a phone booth, I would daven right at the foot of the escalator (off to the side, of course, so as not to block anyone), thinking that if another Yid saw me davening, he might be curious enough to ask me what I was doing - or he might be reminded of his youth in Warsaw, or Casablanca (this was Montreal) before his life and his Judaism were uprooted.

Months later, a Chabad house opened in that very mall, at the top and off to the side of that very escalator. In fact, the next time I davened in that mall, it was in that Chabad House, on a Shabbos!

Nemo said...

Shygetz- A BaShemke Maayseh

montrealer said...

der sheygetz: and which mall may that be?

Der Shygetz said...


It was Decor Decarie - this goes back to 1990, when Steinberg still existed! Is that mall still there? The Chabad House was the Montreal Torah Center, now relocated to Hampstead.

Rochel said...

Der shygetz:
it still exists though ur prob the only one who still calls it a mall:) btw, its called decarie square

Der Shygetz said...

LOL - yes - I did a Google Search and it was listed as a "dead mall!" I have not been to Montreal since 1992, but I remember the place when it was live, when Steinberg carried cholov yisroel at hmmm..3x NY price, and when there was a kosher Chinese restaurant on the first floor!

Daphne said...

very nice poem/story mimi! i enjoyed it.

Mendel said...

Awesome. I read a story about a guy once.He said that he had recently started putting on tefillin every day,but one morning he was in an airport and really embarrassed.So he crawled into some empty corner and started davening.When he finished,he realized he had been so involved that he hadn't realized when his little corner filled up with people!That's when he realized "nu,theirs weirder things to see than a Jew going about their business......"

jackie said...

Ahh, I can relate! I used to always say tehillim on the subway to the internship I had this spring. Sometimes, I got interesting looks, but mostly, I think the New Yorkers know how to understand/ignore it. It's so much fun to say tehillim on the subway in NY!

In Seattle, I might be more self-conscious of it. But in NY, I was always proud to just add further to the local color and diversity of people riding the subway.

Hadassah said...

Such a small thing can make such a huge impact on people. Not only "strange" but something unique, and special. I love it. =)