A few days ago, a Rabbi who is living in Berlin got a phone call. He was sitting in his favorite cafe, drinking freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and breathing deeply in the spring of Spring and the fact that his calender allowed him some 45 free minutes. We are talking about some one who is so busy he can match George Clooney’s miles on three separate airlines.
He picked up his blackberry even though it was a blocked number. The woman on the other side introduced herself as someone working for a local advertising agency. They had a good conversation that started when he found out that she went to an American college in the place where he was born in America. You have to assume from this fact that she is educated and someone who saw and exposed herself to different cultures.
After a while she told the Rabbi that the reason she is calling him is that their agency is launching an ad campaign for a Dresden daily. The campaign theme, she explained, was that everyone reads this paper–women, man, priests, Rabbis, the young and the old. The Rabbi didn’t hesitate. One of his missions here is to break the walls, to let Germans and Jews get to know each other.
They agreed and just before they hanged up, the Rabbi told the woman that he must tell her something. “I don’t have facial hair, I don’t wear heavy hat and I don’t wear one of these long heavy coats and I have red hair”, he told her. There was a long silence from the other side, Then she said: “but, you are a Rabbi, no? what kind of a Rabbi are you with no facial hair?” The Rabbi, he wants to close the gap as I mentioned, asks her what does she have in mind if she would take to the campaign a catholic woman, a Muslim teenager, a husband. He tried to clarify to her that Jews, even Rabbis, have many facets.
She broke the silence to tell him that she really had a good conversation with him and she really enjoyed talking over the American town, but she is awfully sorry but she can’t use him for their campaign, that they will look elsewhere and that maybe he can assist her if he can think of someone else.
The Rabbi started to say goodbye nicely. “I think that you are wasting your time looking for Jews”, he told her, “why don’t you go directly to the archives and get a copy of Der Stuermer?”