Wednesday, 17 June 2015

My American Adventure: My day in Brooklyn



While in the taxi on the way to the American Museum of Natural History, I was watching the news on TV (yep the taxi had a TV). There was a report that there had been a shooting in Brooklyn earlier in the day and 5 people had been injured. Knowing that I was working in Brooklyn the next day, I hoped it was nowhere near where I would be working.


I didn't even know what to expect from the area I was scheduled to work in yesterday because I had never visited the area before. When I stepped off the train I was surprised by what I saw . I had entered the part of Brooklyn that was predominately Jewish. Orthodox Jews left right centre, so much so it took a while to spot a non jew. I had never met an Orthodox Jew in person until yesterday.

 I always thought of Jews as a very close knit community, not having much dealings with outsiders and all prosperous with wealth. So I was very surprised when 80% of the clients we saw today were Jewish, especially because we provide free legal assistance to people on low income. I had always heard that it was hard to find a poor Jewish person, begging for bread (in other words, destitute and in great need of financial help), but today I saw this was not true and they are Jews (more than we think) in grave financial situations just like other people.

When I looked at them, at face value they looked like they lived comfortably, but when they explained their situation to me I saw the opposite. In total, I saw 4 clients in 5 hours and each case was different from each other. This was great for me because I learned new things and was able to develop my knowledge of the law further. I am really developing my legal skills every time I conduct a client intake interview. I find Jewish people to be really friendly with manners - well at least the ones I came into contact with today displayed these attributes.

When I was walking down the street I noticed that the Jewish woman, including young girls, dress very similar to each other, wearing midi length skirts. They wear wigs instead of displaying there real hair and we walked past wigs shops on our way to the station.

 They have their own clothes shops which has clothes appropriate for them. I saw Jewish schools and centres and even Jewish school buses. It was cute to see all the Jewish boys playing outside and I could hear them to each other in both Hebrew abe English.

I am all for embracing your culture and roots but I can't help but think how this segregation forms the minds of these children to look at others in a different way. Not going to school with other kids that are not Jewish, not playing with them or associating with them doesn't help in how one will view them when they grow up.

That's my opinion anyway. All in all, it was a good day and I enjoyed my time there.




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