Awhile ago, when I was in the army, minutes after some shabbat ended, I got a call telling me to rush back to base. Many people can relate to that sucky call.
I pack my bag, put on my green uniform, and head to the closest bus stop which happens to lie between Givat Shmuel (where I live) and Bnei Brak (a predominantly ultra-Orthodox town).
As I’m waiting for my bus, I hear singing coming from Bnei Brak. It’s getting louder and louder. Police lights peek around the corner followed by a uniformed chorus line of protesting ultra-Orthodox men.
Within seconds I find myself a patch of green amidst a sea of black and white dancers protesting their community’s induction into the army. The army I was wearing the uniform of.
I affiliate with a political camp that, unfortunately, is (as of today) lacking in religious Jews, so I miss the way religious people protest. Us religious Jews know how to protest. So here I stand on the sidewalk, enjoying the irony, and singing along with the protesters.
One kid makes a bee-line towards me weaving through the circles of dancers holding his black hat on his head with one hand. He yells at me excitedly. “Where are you in the army?! I don’t recognize your symbol! I’m gonna go to Golani! My brother’s in Golani! He taught me how to tie the shoes and everything!”
A group of young ultra-Orthodox kids gather around me all gabbing about what they want to do once they induct.
The police succeed in herding the dancers to the side, my bus comes, and I head to base.