Ashamed To Be A Jew??Generally, I try to take pride in being a Jew. I know I'm conspicuously Jewish. I wear my skirt among jeans, I wear long sleeves in 95 degree weather, I button my polo shirt to the top, and all that stuff. I know I look different, and I'm proud. Sometimes.
Earlier this summer, however, I was ashamed to be a Jew.
I entered the Wal-Mart in Monticello. "Just don't notice I'm jewish," I muttered under my breath, and furrowed my brow in concern. I looked around nervously. I bit my finger. I noticed some locals who probably viewed at me as an intruder. "I'm nothing like them!!" I wanted to shout. "No, you don't get it! I don't return used air conditioners. I don't mess up your aisles. I'm unobtrusive, really..." I can continue babbling, and I probably would. And I'd probably make a worse Chillul Hashem describing them and all they do than they do themselves just by being there.
I recently had to return something to Wal-Mart. I had the skirt with the tags still on, but I didn't have the receipt. I got in line at Customer Service. "Should I make a joke about not returning an air conditioner at the end of the summer? Just so they shouldn't think I was "that type"? Should I be really friendly to the woman behind the counter? Should I just not return it? but I do have the tags on..." I asked my friend. She shrugged her shoulders, and looked at me knowingly. I was embarrassed.
It was my turn, and I just said, "I'm sorry, I'm not an expert on returns...I never return anything...I don't want to get a reputation for being a frequent returner," I told her as I filled in the papers. "Oh, don't worry, you only have 3 returns every 6 months," she informed me. Then I felt stupid for using one of them on liquid soap that cost $1.47. But the pump thing broke on the way home from Wal-Mart--I couldn't even use it.
Was I imagining things or did the Kosher aisle look particularly messy? Coincidence? Or did Wal-Mart neglect it because they're anti-semites? You tell me.
I mean, we know we contribute to their economy, and essentially, we're doing them a favor and all that, but that doesn't mean that they aren't "hosting" us, and we must display Hakoras Hatov, and make a Kiddush Hashem so that they won't dread the Jews. Oy, but "Eisav Soneh L'Yaakov..." so they'll hate us regardless. That's a great reason to return a used air conditioner.