The man behind the pillar

I rather like the church I go to in Montreal. It is very culturally diverse. This is not a church that can claim to have any predominant ethnicity. There is also a wide range of parishioners from young to old - making me wonder where the young people were when I was young.

However, what clinches it for me as a very diverse congregation is a very old man who can sometimes be seen during the 9 A.M. Sunday service, unobtrusively standing behind a pillar. He is not hiding, nor is he drawing attention to himself.

What makes him special, is that he is not a Christian. He is Jewish. He wears a prayer shawl (tallit) and dons and removes phylacteries (tefillin) during the course of the service. I presume he is praying independently of us. However, when we are asked to exchange a sign of peace, he does participate.

I don't know why he is there. I presume it is because he regards the church as a holy place.

This sort of communion and peaceable tolerance always helps to strengthen my hope.


Barbara said…
Wow! This is an interesting story. Please ask him why he is there and let me know the answer. He is obviously an Orthodox Jew.
KayMac said…
Intriguing! I am w/ barbara...this is a mystery we want to know more about!
It is interesting and very cool how he feels more or less comfortable there. It is also good that everyone accepts his presence as a free choice thing.
No, people! Don't ask him anything, Richard. Leave the man alone. Let him remain a mystery!
Richard said…
I am not sure why he is there. What I find most odd is not his presence, but that he comes on a Sunday instead of the Saturday (on the other hand, perhaps there is no service on Saturday - I will have to check the bulletin).

While I have wanted to ask him, I also do not want to intrude on him.

It is a difficult thing, do I approach or not? As well, he is not there every Sunday. Not to mention, I have two young kids who are pretty restless by the end.

If an opportunity arises, perhaps one day I will speak with him, but I am in no hurry.
KayMac said…
either way, it has left us w/ a beautiful picture
Richard said…
kaymac: I never said I wouldn't ask him. I just will not go out of my way to do so. I am curious about him too.
Maybe there will be a coffee time after the service sometime and you can ask him to join you there or something like that. Let us know if you ever find out all about him.
Richard said…
There is usually some coffee or sometimes a breakfast afterwards. We rarely go, I am not sure if he goes either.

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