There’s a little world of difference between Australia and Brooklyn. Here in New York, pretty much every Gentile knows when the Jewish holidays fall because of a single fundamental part of our lives: all local parking regulations are suspended on Jewish holidays.
On the other hand, in Melbourne, Victoria, local police aren’t as forgiving. Not only do they not know when Jewish holidays fall, but on Yom Kippur this year, police gave a woman a ticket for not hitting the “walk” button before crossing the street. This, despite the fact that there was a green light, and no cars were passing in either direction.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too cynical — maybe I’ve gotten too accustomed to this world where everyone demands special treatment, not only Jews but any minority group or person with any different needs. Or maybe it’s that I’m not cynical enough. I still kind of believe in the old world, the one where everyone’s trusting enough to go on people’s words — that if they can’t do something, they really can’t do it. And police would trust you, instead of thinking that you’re trying to talk your way out of a ticket.
Then again, maybe observant Jews should be penalized for doing things that they “have” to do that aren’t totally in line with the law. It’s like someone I know says: “there’s always a parking spot in New York. You just have to be willing to pay for it.”
(Afterward, the local police supervisor said that there were special programs in place “educating the police on the Jewish culture and Jewish religion,” and that the offending officer was new to the beat.)
Pronounced: yohm KIPP-er, also yohm kee-PORE, Origin: Hebrew, The Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar and, with Rosh Hashanah, one of the High Holidays.