I am writing to you on Isru Chag to share how proud I was on Chol Hamoed to be standing with hundreds of other Yidden in Astroland Amusement Park in Brooklyn, NY. (Actually, it was the park next door, Deno’s Wonder Wheel, since Astroland, except for the Cyclone roller coaster, has closed down.) It was a beautiful site of frum Yidden enjoying the chag, demonstrating great respect for each other, and showing why our nation is as special as it is. There was no pushing, no cutting of lines, and no loud talking.
To be sure, it was a crowd that was quite diverse. There were yeshivaleit, chassidishe families, Modern Orthodox families, and everyone in between. It was a beautiful mosaic which I observed and appreciated.
So often, we take for granted how fortunate we are to be born into a nation that is as unique and special as ours. And it is easy to take it for granted or to even forget that we are a people of special character. Unfortunately, news headlines and stories are usually filled with the negative – what someone, somewhere, witnessed being done wrong by one of our people. Not often enough is it that we read about how caring, and sensitive, and truly remarkable our people are.
On Thursday, the first day of Chol Hamoed, I know that the Ribono Shel Olam was shepping nachas from the wonderful camaraderie and mentchlichkeit that was on display at Deno’s Wonder Wheel and the adjacent boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
It was no surprise to me when the gentleman who was manning the pop-the-balloon booth at the park remarked to me the Jewish holidays are one of his favorite times of the year to work at the park. People are respectful, he told me, all the children are dressed in their finest, wholesome and well-educated families gather together for some lighter moments… It is a breath of fresh air in a world filled with unpleasantries.
So to all of you reading this, smile and take pride in our beautiful nation of Klal Yisroel.
And to those who made a Kiddush Hashem on Thursday, thanks for infusing me with such joy, pride and chizuk.
A Proud Yid