When Moshe and I were in Orlando for the first time, we made up a game: Spot the Jews.
We had noticed an interesting phenomenon: Frum (Orthodox) Jews were walking around in baseball caps, rather than wearing a kippah, tichel (scarf), or hat, like they would in New Jersey or New York.
For whatever reason, these Jews choose to "hide" their Judaism. To us, it is obvious they are Jews. Between the baseball caps and the modest dress, they stand out like violets in a field of daffodils. I imagine they feel like they are "blending in."
We find this fascinating.
Why the need to "pass"?
Why not just dress the way you normally dress, and be who you are?
Why pretend that you are not different?
Moshe and I wear our kippot and tichels (respectively).
It never occurred to us to dress any differently.
As a result, Jewish staff workers share with us their identities. Many are excited to learn that we are visiting from Jerusalem and share with us their hopes to visit Israel. (I gave our contact information to several people I met, Jews and non-Jews)
This visit, we noticed a few Jewish families who dressed "normally," with kippot, etc. Two of the families were Chabbadnikim, so that was not so surprising. Two of the families were from Israel, one from Tel Aviv, the other from a yishuv (settlement/suburban community -- I don't remember which one, maybe Beit El). We also met some Israelis who were not religious, but were communicating freely, in Hebrew.
It was nice to see other Jews, who were openly Jewish.
Of course, we still spotted groups of "Jews in disguise."
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
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