My Temple on the Streets

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I train in the early hours of the morning in a gym located in a city about 15 minutes away from my doorway.

At the hour of 5:45, the streets of the city are empty-except for large crowds of Hispanic men lining the sidewalks waiting to be picked up by the contractors for day labor. Holding take out coffee and rolls bought from the Spanish grocery stores, the men congregate, talking and joking.   Contractor’s trucks slowly cruise up and down, occasionally stopping to pick up their workers and drive them to the wealthy towns that ring the city.

Not long ago, I was stopped at a light, when I noticed that one man was wearing a sweatshirt that looked strikingly familiar.  I quickly realized that he was wearing a “Temple Emanu-El Westfield” hoodie, one of those we give out to our student aides who work in our school.  The light changed, and I had to drive off, but I saw him the next day, and the next.

Where did this  gentleman get his Temple Emanu-El sweatshirt?  It could have been one of many we give away to the homeless people that live in our building twice a year.  It could have come from a clothing drive that we sponsor-it could simply be one that a Temple family donated in the course of time.  Truthfully, who knows?

Either way, I feel a unique kinship with this man.   Every day now I look for him, but he seems to be gone.   I drive past his spot slowly, but I look in vain.

I now keep an extra shirt in my car in case I see him again and plan to give it to him.   After all, we represent the same organization, and he deserves a clean shirt.




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