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I do not dress like the average Orthodox man in my Brooklyn neighborhood. It’s not that I’m trying to make a statement by often going hatless and wearing blue and brown suits, it’s just that in becoming religious I have changed so much - there are certain things I don’t want to give up, especially since my religion doesn’t truly ask me to do so.
Shame wells up in me as I thread my way through the cluster of young wives standing near my home, animatedly talking with one another as their children play at their feet. Four shopping bags dangle from one arm, five from another, and I shift them uncomfortably as I carry them from my car, practically bent over from their weight.
I write this column during Parshas Yisro - the portion that focuses on Matan Torah -The Giving of the Torah. Paradoxically, the parshah is not entitled Matan Torah or Aseret HaDibrot - The Ten Commandments, or even Moshe Rabbeinu, who brought the commandments down from Sinai. Amazingly, the parshah is named for Yisro, the heathen priest. What did Yisro do to merit such distinction?