Vignettes from Israel: by Dr. Menachem Kellner

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Rosh Hodesh Tammuz this week marks, among other things, the end of Ramadan. The morning TV shows on Friday mornings announce the beginning of end of Shabbat in Israel’s major cities. This past month they have also been announcing the start and end times of the Ramadan fast. The radio stations do this every day. Joining Muslims for the iftar, or break-fast, has become something of a trend among Israeli Jews.


Staying with the Ramadan theme, someone near and dear to me teaches in Hadassah College in Jerusalem. Many of her students are Arabs. On a recent Friday she wished one of them a ”Ramadan Karim” (“good yontiff” in Arabic), to which he responded, “Shabbat Shalom.”


Staying with the inter-religious theme, my wife recently went to a new hairdresser, an Arab named Vidal. While there, the local Habadnik came by to install a promised mezuzah. Amazed, my wife asked Vidal why he wanted it, and he said, “Why not? The Habadnik is my neighbor and a very nice man.”


Last vignette from ASI: a Jerusalem friend is married to a woman who underdoes dialysis three times a week in a clinic frequented by many Arab patients. My friend, a dyed in the wool Likudnik, says that they are very nice people. One of them is a Jordanian woman married to a local man from Ramallah. On a family visit to Amman, Jordan, she had her regular dialysis there. Once was enough! She will stick to Israeli medical care henceforth (and would not even consider having it done in a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah).