by Cynthia Bruckman
“EXCUSE ME, MISS! ARE YOU JEWISH?”
I had just moved from San Francisco to New York City. I was walking down Park Avenue, heading to the 6 train after a particularly grueling day of work, when I was approached by two young men from the Chabad, an Orthodox Jewish Hasidic movement, waving what looked like willow branches at me as they shouted and ran in my direction. I had that dark-haired “Jewish look,” I suppose, that they were eagerly scouting for in rush-hour Manhattan during Sukkot. They were very excited.
“It depends on how you define ‘Jewish,’” I answered. It appeared as if I were about to be blessed by their branches, and as a newly arrived New Yorker, I needed to be blessed.