Paris, France. Charles de Gaulle airport. I am in line to have my boarding pass scanned so I can go through the security check. My version of being in line is being a bit to the side. I like my personal space. In line behind me, with a few people in between, I see a fellow Jew. Unlike me, it is easy to recognize him as a Jew since he was wearing a suit, beard and black hat. He just got himself in line and I can see he is a bit disoriented as to the next step. I don’t offer help since he is in the right place but I figure I’ll make sure he doesn’t get lost.
Off to my right, I hear a woman say in English “Sir, you can pass”. I turn to see who is saying this and more importantly to whom. A tall, pretty, dark girl walks towards the line. She is clearly an employee. Again she says “Sir, you can pass”. This time though, she’s looking at my fellow Jew and pointing at him. At this point he seems really confused. Honestly, so am I. I am facing them as she continues to walk towards the line, he has moved a bit forward to test if he understood correctly and somehow we are all converging to the same point. As we all meet she says “Let me just scan your boarding pass and you can go to security immediately”. She scans his boarding pass, then she scans mine. I say thank you and move forward. I look back at her and I smile to myself.
A few days before this happened, there was a large attack against Jews. Often times, my fellow brothers and sisters admit to hiding signs of their Jewishness to be safer. The truth is I understand that. If you can be safer, why wouldn’t you? But then, I come across moments like the one at the airport in Paris where one Jew helped a fellow Jew simply because she recognized him as a brother. I have spent a fair amount of time in Israel and I travel a lot. Amongst each other, away from other’s eyes, Jews love to argue and to fight. It’s part of our culture. 2 Jews, 3 opinions. But when we feel the weight of the world’s hate on us, we come together. And it’s during moments like that, that you realize how beautiful and strong a bond we have. It gives me hope that just as we endured 2000 years in exile yet managed to stay a nation, now that we have a nation, there is no doubt we will survive – despite other’s best efforts at times. Why? Because at the end of the day, we’ve got each other’s backs.
When I travel, I get to see beautiful places, new cultures, new foods and new sounds. But equal to all of that are the human experiences I have. Usually these experiences let me appreciate humanity as a whole. Once in a while, I have the pleasure of being reminded that my large tribe truly is just one big family.