Recently I went to a job interview in a nearby city. While I was waiting for the train to arrive to travel home afterwards, an older man approached me. Keep in mind I was wearing business casual clothes and I had nothing that distinguished me as Jewish. He looked at me and said “You speak Hebrew? You Speak Ivrit?”. Since I haven’t furthered my Hebrew education since my bar mitzvah I told him no but I told him I was Jewish. He sat down next to me.
He told me he was having a bad day. He said he came to the city for a job interview and he was an Israeli who lives in New York. We made normal small talk. He told me his wallet was stolen earlier and he had been walking all over the city. He said he found a Chassidic man in a nearby mall and asked him for $46 for a bus ticket to get back to New York. The man apparently told him “I would love to give you the money, but then I would not be able to feed my 8 children”. Being a Reform Jew I inquired why this man he met had 8 children. He told me something about how Orthodox Jews are only allowed to have sex with their wives when they aren’t menstruating, therefore when they are pregnant they can have plenty of sex. This is why he claims Orthodox Jewish men are the happiest people you will meet. It was funny. Then he asked me if I could give him the money to get him home. This had me thinking this was some sort of scam he was running in the train station but if that was the case it would only work on other Jews. To me that seemed highly unlikely. I asked him for his phone number and I called him so I had it. Then I asked if he would do the same thing for me if the roles were reversed. “Of course of course, I swear on my children’s life.” I gave him $60 since he hadn’t had anything to eat all day as well as needing a bus ticket to New York. We talked for a little bit. He told me his name was Eliyahu. I swear to you at that point I thought it was some sort of test, like this man was an angel. But this man was not an angel, he reeked of cigarettes and said some disturbing things to me after I gave him the money. We just began to talk about life, Israel, and so on. Then out of nowhere he said to me “I can’t stand the f*%$ing f%#$@ts here. I see a man on the train he have his nails painted black.” Mind you there were plenty people around where we were sitting and nowhere in the conversation did I mention homosexuality. I said to him, “Who cares. This doesn’t affect you or me.” He told me he agreed, but it is an “unholy sight”. 10 minutes prior he was telling me about how when he got his green card, the women in Israel would have sex with him and he would say he will marry them and then he would just never talk to them again.
The things he said really made me regret giving him anything, even in his time of need. Before he left he told me things like “Yehudi have to stick together.” “I promise you I will pay you back” “Toda Raba” “We are of the same tribe”. He even offered to have a kosher meal with me if he was ever around that way again. Growing up there was never a Jewish community I belonged to outside of my family. I never had opportunities to help other Jews like this before. He identified me as Jewish just by looking at my face. When he found me he said “Thank God I have found another Jew.” I wanted to support another Jew in need, but I think the sad truth is he took my money and is never going to pay it back. If anything I learned from his anecdotes about women and green cards it was that he wasn’t an honest man. It’s only been a couple days but if he has no intention of paying me back I think that’s despicable. He would have exploited my kindness and our shared Jewish ancestry for just $60. I feel good about giving someone money if they genuinely were stranded (I watched him go buy food after walking away so I believe he really hadn’t eaten). I’m not really sure what to think of it.
submitted by /u/gxdsavesispend