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Pardes Yehuda: An Election Day story from '04

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Election Day story from '04

While standing in line to vote in 2004 I was reminded what makes democracy special. In ‘04 I lived in in the Allston neighborhood of Boston. I went to the polls before work. At the time, I wore a white Breslover style kippah (the big, cranium sized ones). I was standing behind a middle-aged black man who I learned was named Jerome. He turned around, and upon seeing my skull-cap, he said, “Asalaam Aleikem.” I pulled back my trenchcoat, revealing my tzitzit, and responded “Aleikhem Shalom.” We proceded to have a wonderful, uplifting conversation about the Qu’ran and Torah, the democratic process and the first four Bush years.

Over the next six months, until I left Boston for LA, I would see Jerome around the neighborhood, and we’d stop and chat. Were it not for that election, a Jew and a Muslim would never have forged that friendship. In my mind, THIS is what democracy is all about, and why Election Day is such a special and meaningful time. It allows all of us the opportunity to see who lives in our neighborhood, and to forge bonds that might otherwise not be formed.

No matter who wins at the end of this election, let us all hope and/or pray that the true victor is the democratic process. After two questionable elections, our country deserves to see true democracy in action. Let’s all make that a reality and get out and vote! When you’re in line, talk to your neighbor for a minute–that is community, and THAT is what democracy is made of.

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