The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A British Bar - Bar Mitzvah

Or part IV of the Legendary London Trip

(A look at the 'new' face of London - massive protests over American presence in Pakistan and Afghanistan)

This post has been lingering around for far to long. I've rushed through it a bit, so while there are several interesting stories written here . . . they're unedited. Please forgive the quality.
I hope you enjoy (and if anyone can point out errors, I'll be very thankful in the help fixing them!)
Click on the link to see the last leg of my trip to London - rife with Arabs, Tefillin, French Love and plenty of Beer!

After returning to London from Manchester, Dear Dan and I decided to spend our last day in London going around to the remaining sites we'd missed in the city, and more importantly, visit the Jews we'd met before in various places and put tefillin on with them.

Shachar, our friend from the first day touring got a mezuzah!

Putting on Tefillin
between the chachkas.

Shachar called over his friends and we got them all in on game!

The chevra . . . as taken by a Polish goy'ka working over at the nearby booth.

Over the river . . .

Next we went to the famed speakers corner . . . Once a place of free speech and a platform for the people to voice themselves openly (or at least make total fools of themselves) today it seems to be rampant with Arabs voicing their hate for the Jewish people and Judaism - the rest of the crowd being a few xtian loonies and a handful of communists.

Don't ask, as I also have no clue . . . but I've been told he's a regular.

Socialism . . . Right.

A European accented, and I believe Jewish, man speaking about Evolution

. . . and arguing with an Israeli Lady about it (I love this pic!)

Got Islam? England sure does . . .

Getting a tan, sharia style

Notice (behind the sunbathing Brits) the crowd of people debating in the corner

After walking around, the Muslim guy in the t-shirt pulled me over . . .
"Do you speak Hebrew?" he asked me.
I stopped in my tracks suddenly. After seeing crowds roaring for the destruction of Israel, I was unsure on how to properly respond to the questions - and what exactly I would be getting into.
"Good. Come here! Come here." He said, beckoning me towards the sizable group gathered around him.
"How do you say G-d's name 'I am what I am' in Hebrew?"
Seeing no harm in his question, I told him as much.
"You see! I'm right" He said, pointing to the lady missionary, erstwhile clutching an orange a bible in her hand, standing next him.
"I believe him - even that's a lot coming from a Muslim!."

Giving me a look of betrayal, the missionary tried to coax some argument from me to her cause - but still unable to figure out what exactly the information I was supplying was being used for, I could add no more.
A few yards away from the debate, we came to a group of Frenchies prancing around with big signs that boldly read: "Free Hug"
I tried to explain to the you lady who approached me with open arms that as a Rabbi (and an engaged one at that) I didn't hug women . . . but to no avail. I ended up settling the mater by hugging a man holding a similar sign.

Note: The lady in purple moved her position to be closer to Dear D. at the last moment.

A Free Hug

I couldn't figure out what these guys were speaking about.

As we made our way out of the park, we were approached by a group of three Islamic youths with T-shirts that read "Got
Producing a small booklet, they began to ask us various odd questions - such as
'If we believed in one G-d.' (Answer: I think we created monotheism), and 'if we knew the verse that read Hear O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is one.' (Answer: uh . . . It's called the Shema in Hebrew and we say it several times through out the day).
While they tried to look up a verse about Jacob in their small pocket Bible, Dear Dan looked at the booklet they were reading their questions from. It read: "How to convince others the truth of Islam. If x-tian ask questions on page 3, Jewish ask those on page 5 . . . "

We thanked them and wished them a nice day.

As we left, we ran into a young Jew from the States and spent a few moments in prayer - and a half hour or so in conversation . . .

We then went to Covent Gardens . . .

Magic tricks

and juggling chainsaws

Before we left, Dear Dan and I decided to grab a final "Goodbye" drink in London.

Turning into a Pub named The Nags Head we ordered took a seat and order our drinks.
Dan had a Strongbow Cider, I got a Springzinger Cask conditioned IPA from McCullen.

Our photo

That evening I had arranged a meet up with fellow blogger Joshua Oxenhendler. For whatever reason, we were unable to get through to each other - and so with out a rendezvous point, Dear Dan and I went for a second drink across the street at the White Lion (I love British pub names).

We ordered our drinks - this time I got another cask conditioned ale - a Doom Bar Bitter.

Turning to a gentleman from Tennessee speaking to his friend, we asked him to take a pic.
Demurring at first as a "poor photographer", he took the photo below.


As fate would have it, Jeff was Jewish.
We sat down to speak . . . and soon had a full on Farbrengen.
As sunset approached, I broached the subject of putting on tefillin with him - a mitzvah he had never before done.
Jeff agreed . . . and had a "Bar" Mitzvah right there in the Pub.
In celebration of the momentous event, another round of drinks was ordered, and the farbrengen continued!

Mottel, Jeff, Tim and Dear Dan.

At last, all good things must come to an end, and for one needed to move on in life.
After all . . . my wedding in New York was less, at that time, a week away!

Thus ended my London trip to Chief's wedding . . . and my last trip as a bochur.

Manhattan and Brooklyn as seen from the bridge. Note the Willamsburg, Manhattan and - my favorite - Brooklyn bridges.

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Chana said...

Nice finale. Don't you miss those bochur days? ;-)

Sef said...

I love England.

sarabonne said...

One thing to edit: you got hitched.

Leora said...

Great post. Especially enjoyed the European guy arguing with the Israeli woman while the Muslims take over Britain.

In terms of beauty, the river in London with the wispy clouds is quite charming.

Anonymous said...

As a Brit, an erstwhile Londoner (well, I lived there for... 8 years) and therefore a local, I loved your pictorial summary of our great capital! Very, very impressed by your choice of beverages in our British pubs, and at the number of people you persuaded to lay tefillin!

Regarding your photos of the Muslims at prayer, I came across a guy praying on his own at London Bridge station one evening - I am sure he managed to find the only quiet place in the whole of the station, which was no mean feat, given it was rush hour! I have also witnessed a Jewish man donning tefillin at London City Airport. Never seen a Christian praying at a place of public transportation, though!

Wonderful photos, thank you for showing London so well.


Donna said...

Wow. Is that a new banner? Very nice.

Mottel said...

-Chana: A wife is a fairly good substitute.
-Sef: Have you ever been there?
-Sarabonne: noted
-Leora: Glad you liked the post and the photos :)
-Shavua Tov: It's a shame we didn't meet up then! I'd love to drink a few more different brews from the British pubs . . . and do a hundred fold more tefillin. If you agree with my tastes, then I must be in good company! I've davened several times in airports and other such places before.

-Donna: Indeed this coffee banner has been added to the rotation! It, like all those on this site, was designed by my sister - Sef. Email her if you'd like one. Of note, I haven't seen you in these here parts before. Welcome aboard.

Anonymous said...

Yep - that would have been fun! Not all that many Brits have such discerning tastes, I must say... Quality, versus quantity is always a good start, though. There are a lot of 'free houses' in the UK (ones that aren't owned by a chain) that sell some great lagers, beers and ales.


Hebrew Scholar said...

This is a really interesting post for so many different reasons! The mixture of Hebrew and Arabic, the Middle East in England, a Muslim asking a Jew, someone trying to argue with an Israeli woman (good luck on that one!). I read this post twice, it was so good!

Sef said...

no of course not.

Mottel said...

-Hebrew Scholar: I'm glad you found it so interesting! May I ask how you found this post?
-Sef: I thought so :)