In 2010 I saw a news story that included the following image with the caption: “An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man climbs on a pole during a demonstration against a Supreme Court ruling forcing the integration of a religious girls’ school, in Bnei Brak, Israel, Thursday, June 17, 2010”. (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700041079/Ultra-Orthodox-Jews-protest-school-ruling.html?pg=all)
His grip on the pole, the look on his face and the gesture he is making with his other hand give such energy to a photo where everyone else is static. Your eye is drawn to him. I kept thinking about this photo over the next few days. What I was thinking was how ridiculous he looks up that pole, kinda scared and desperate. That seemed to sum up the protest, kinda scared and desperate. And kinda racist. Ashkenazi Jews whose parents came from Europe, wanted to keep their school segregated from Sepharim Jewish girls who are of Middle Eastern and Northern African descent. The protestors claim they aren’t racist just protective of their children and want to keep their kids separate from the influence of those not as religious as they are. Those of us with even a moderate knowledge of world history may be experiencing an uncomfortable feeling of deja vu.
As I thought about him forever captured in this photo, forever stuck up that pole, I began to see only him, the rest of the photo fell away. Like Sad Keanu http://sadkeanu.tumblr.com/ once you start imagining him somewhere else, you can’t stop.