Confessions of a Cross-Sitter — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

To the respected Torah scholar, Rabbi Rosencrantz, may he live a good and long life, amen:

I would not disturb you at your studies were it not that the problem I face is pressing and the agony of my soul no longer bearable. Nor would I dare to write you under a false name, if it were not so embarrassing, but this you will no doubt understand as you read. I plead with you to respond quickly and with all the wisdom at your disposal, as my family, my livelihood, and my soul are all at stake.

It’s about public transportation. That is, I have a bus issue. Perhaps the word “issue” might be misunderstood. Perhaps I should say a seat problem. But perhaps that, too, may sound improper. Let me get to the point.

illustration by Avi Katz

Each morning I kiss my wife and children good-by and descend the narrow stairs from our modest apartment in the Holy City of Jerusalem and wait, along with many of my neighbors, for the number 2 bus. As befits our God-fearing neighborhood, the passengers board and the men take seats in the front and the women proceed to the back.

I swipe my Rav-Kav card and begin to walk down the aisle. A seat presents itself but I decide to try further back. I continue down the aisle toward the swivel section of the double bus.

For quite a long time after glatt-kosher buses began running in our neighborhood, I convinced myself that I was just looking for a more comfortable or convenient seat. But yesterday I was confronted with the truth.

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