Wearing a chest full of ribbons on a khaki colored shirt with Russian-like epaulets on the shoulders, I grew lots of attention at the Russian appreciation day at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia yesterday.
An entire family had stared at me for several long seconds. I felt it, more than I saw it, having had my eyes closed sitting the Lotus position near a man-made water-fall on concrete steps leading up from a large outdoor stage. I meditated some 10 minutes and opened my eyes, quickly taking in the gaze of the woman first, then her husband and lastly the boy, their son, I assumed, all staring at me from less than 10-feet away wondering why a veteran of some Russian War might be “sleeping it off” in full view of thousands of visitors Sunday.
The shirt was courtesy of a company called “Robber Barons” and cost me a whole dollar at a New Jersey flea market my son and I visited a month ago along with our good Russian friend, Oleg, who purchased three of ’em along with a bunch of “New York Yankees” shirts — all for $1 each — to give away to family and friends back in Ukraine, when he would visit his home country.
Several people asked me to pose for pictures with ’em, positioning me in such a way to let the ribbons show up the best. Have no idea what the “medals” stood for, if anything. The letters are difficult to make out, but seem to be Russian.
That’s why I wore the “novelty” shirt. Had nothing else like it, and I wanted to make my new Russian friends studying Kabbalah feel at home with something, well, Russian.
They must have felt right at home when authorities at Penn’s Landing brought in the strong arms of the security guards. (Can anyone say “oppressive government?”) The young people were handing out newsletters describing the spiritual teachings going back more than 2,000 years. Management tried to restrict them to their booth, claiming it had the right to keep order here.
I introduced myself as a lawyer, and asked if there was any problem. One of the guards said no, and I asked if there is something of a legal nature I could help anyone with.
You see, there were several young fellows handing out Christian literature throughout the area where some 70 booths offered wares for sale and give-a-ways. One of the fellows stopped me. He spent two years in the Russian army. He told me this after seeing my fake medals, then handed me a booklet containing New Testament passages by “John” one of the Gospel writers. I noticed he met up with several others, all rather short-haired, clean-cut types, one even wearing a dark, purple pin-striped suit, a purple shirt and a purple tie. Carried a “man purse” too.
Well, no one stopped the Christian proselytizers, I pointed out. Why then are those disseminating this “Jewish” message the only ones singled out?
Nothing came out of the minor skirmish. I advised my Kabbalistic friends to follow the lead of Kabbalists of old. “Conceal the Creator.” That is, keep the newsletters out of sight until presenting a gift to someone. Carry bags to “hide” the word inside, until you’re ready to pass it outside to someone you think might be interested in answering the question: “What is my purpose in Life?
Isn’t that how it has survived all those years while the World was trying to destroy what it could not understand?