This morning I got a seat on the subway. An unusual occurrence on most days, so I puzzled why, until I realized that it's Passover time again.
Then I puzzled why it is that I've been in New York City for four years and still haven't been invited to a Seder. It's not like I'm lacking in the Jew-friendliness department. My own mother, who cannot answer a question without asking one, is often mistaken for Jewish.
"Mom, what time is it?"
"Where do YOU have to be, Mr. Bigshot?"
And it was in the fall of 1988 when I scored a 29 out of a possible 30 in the Miami Herald's "Test Your Yiddish Vocabulary" test, a perfect score brought down by "schtettle."
But no Seder for me this year. My last one in San Francisco was hosted by my hilarious friend Ben, whose four questions began with "What makes this night more fabulous than any other?" Oh, and instead of leaving the door open for Elijah, we left it open for Sylvester.
I was sitting there in my Seder haze, when at 51st Street, where lots of United Nations staffers get on, a tall Muslim man wearing traditional Muslim clothes boarded my car. He moved over as if he were going to sit between me and a small elderly lady when the old lady suddenly barked at him.
"No! No! Don't sit down!"
The Muslim man looked at her, looked at me, and seemed at a loss of what to say. It seemed for a moment like this little old lady was not about to have some Muslim person seated next to her.
But the the old lady pointed vigorously at the empty seat, "See! See! There's some bubble gum on there and I dint want youse to get yer...yer...um, um...DRESS... all messed up!"
Then she flushed with embarrassment.
The Muslim man nodded his head and smiled down at her, "Yes! Yes! Very kind. Very kind."