At 11 AM under the sunshade in my back garden, I listened to the lilting music coming from the other side of a high wooden fence. Over the loudspeaker, a male voice reminded me of Neil Diamond, the wonderful singer from the 70s & 80s. A female voice interwove the melody backed by guitar and other instruments I couldn't identify, evoking memories of the musical Fiddler on the Roof.
In the afternoon, I sat inside my front room while more and more people passed by on the footpath and spilled onto the road, which, although busy, only allows two red double-decker busses to squeeze by either way and no space for parking.
By three o'clock whole families strode up the steep hill to the Shtiebel next door. Men in black suits with hats or skull-caps, boys sporting caps pinned to their hair, girls wearing fine dresses with ribbons in their hair, accompanied by their mothers. As the crowd swelled, boys walked among them proudly bearing lit torches. Fathers carried their babies or pushed them uphill.
All the neighbors received printed invitations one month ago to attend the celebration in memory of Reb Yitzchok Dovid Tajtelbaum, the owner's father who died in the holocaust. My husband wore his dark green suit so he could put in an appearance at the buffet at 4.30, although he didn't see any of our friends. I guess he stood out among the black-clad men because the host thanked him for coming.
Although I didn't accompany him because of my disability, I told my husband afterward how proud I was of him.
If only the rest of the world could achieve the same tolerance. A climate of hate has been blamed for the attack on Brussels Jewish museum that killed three people last week.
We are all people of the Earth and should have the freedom to worship our Creator as we choose—as long as we don't harm others.
This brings to mind the Pilgrims, who disagreed with the religious teachings of the Church of England. So much so, they sailed from Portsmouth and arrived in Holland, but after 12 years of poor conditions, they set sail for America.
Now, England tolerates all religions. I love the diversity in society.