Everyday I take the Long Island Rail Road to work, although it is not ideal to daven (pray) on the train I find it very peaceful. Yes, I could read the newspaper or a book like many of my fellow travelers, but I find it very rewarding to daven on the train. No one is rushing me and its calm and quiet.
The only shortfall of davening on the train is dealing with the uncomfortable and curious glances of the person next to me. “Why is she talking to herself? What is that odd language she is mumbling?”
So today like every other day, I was davening in my seat, when a young Asian women sat down next to me. I was prepared for the glances, when suddenly she took out a book of her own. She began to pray!
Granted it was not a siddur (Jewish prayer book) it was the text from Friday Mass, but I suddenly felt a certain kinship with her. Although no words were exchanged, an interfaith service was in progress.
Reading Ari Alexander’s blogs on the World Conference on Dialogue in Madrid (which you should too) has actually given me some hope that a conversation can be had. After years of reading article after article on peace talks and interfaith conferences, Ari’s insights into a radical meeting changed my train encounter into an experience of togetherness rather than difference.