[Note to readers: In a few days, I'll be posting my wife's and my personal recommendation for the most effective and worthy Maos Hittim (Passover needs for the poor) project in the Land of Israel. The real thing - totally legitimate - executed in the most ingenious way. You'll see and judge for yourself. Check back.]
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I rolled out of bed at 3:30 Friday morning to take my 16-year-old son to the 5:45am grand launch of the 2013 Tel Aviv Marathon.
After he disappeared into the distance with tens of thousands of dedicated runners, I drove to Rabbi Akiva Street in Bnai Brak, the main hareidi-religious (black hat) hub in the Tel Aviv area, where you are sure to find a quorum for the morning prayers.
|Rabbi Akiva St. - the main drag of Bnai Brak|
After entering several bakeries and establishments that advertised coffee, I realized the trend: on Rabbi Akiva street, you can buy coffee to go, but no sit-down coffee shops.
|Baruch holding his tefillin: "No coffee shops in Bnai Brak?"|
I stopped several hareidi gentlemen on the street telling them that if they want to become rich, they should open the first coffee shop in Bnai Brak. This ingenious, innovative idea is bound to be a hit.
One guy told me that there was a coffee shop, but it closed. When I asked another guy why no coffee shops, his immediate and natural response was: "Why sit in a coffee shop when you can take the coffee to the beis midrash (house of study)?"
His come-back blew me away. The only thing that he associates coffee with is sitting in the beis midrash and studying. The culture of lounging in a coffee shop to chatter is not a money-maker in these parts. Ladies and gents, that dude is a serious, diligent Torah scholar.
I really admire hareidi men like him. True, I can't stand those who promenade in full black garb, but are fakes inside. But this guy was the real thing. I sensed it through our brief encounter.
So I thought to myself, if only all the students of the Torah were like this guy - grinding away multiple hours a day immersed in vigorous study of our ancient holy texts without much else on their minds.
If all the hareidim were the real thing, what a force that would be. I bet Yair Lapid himself would try on a black suit and hat. Watch and see for yourself.
|Breaking News Photo 2014: Yair Lapid goes hareidi (Lapid wouldn't let me photograph his face, but there he is)|
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