It was Saturday.
Summer was everywhere: in the green, green of the neighbourhood curbs; in the warm blue of an early morning sky. It felt like a good day to walk down to our synagogue and give a little thanks. And so we did.
Me, in my tottering heels and Mr Nielson better known as Sid, strolled arm in arm to our place of prayer. Of course, prayer is everywhere and our Amidah teaches us how to step out of the world and into a sacred place of prayer no matter where we are. It's like a bracket that we can escape to when ever we like.
But that is another story.
Mr Nielson and I chatted merrily along the way, when I espied a workman on the side of the road, plastering a wall. From his vantage point at the top of a ladder, he had a very good view of Mr Nielson and I as we made our way into the synagogue.
He wore muslim robes and a head covering. I could feel his eyes boring down on me and I expressed my dismay at this uncomfortable observation.
Lamenting somewhat dramatically that someone I had never met should hate me so, I turned to Mr Nielson and protested. 'I'm such a lovely person,' I proclaimed, 'This man doesn't even know me and yet he judges me because of my faith.' Mr Nielson knows, that like Woody Allen, I hear 'How Jew do' quite frequently, so he simply assured me that the builder was most probably thinking about other things on this fine Sabbath morning and wished me no harm.
This did little to appease me and I went into shul, all the while muttering to myself about prejudice.
Mr Nielson stayed for a meeting once the service ended so I walked home alone. There was the wall being plastered, there was the man on the ladder in his muslim robes. I tucked my head down and picked up the pace. 'You are soooo Beautiful', the man on the ladder called out to me. 'I hope you have a wonderful day.' I might just as well have gotten down on my knees and begged his forgiveness.
Instead I simply thanked him and wished him a wonderful day of his own.