Walking into our local makolet in Yad Binyamin, I was stopped by an Israeli neighbor who needed some help. There was a stranger - clearly American with his teenage son, and he needed help. My Israeli neighbor couldn't figure out what he wanted, so he turned to me.
"I need some breakfast," the man said. I tried to sum up the situation. He was in his mid-fifties, with graying hair. He was wearing a ratty T-shirt - kind of falling apart. I was having a little trouble figuring out what he wanted.
"This is a little uncomfortable, but do you need some money? Can I get you something to eat?" As a pulpit rabbi, I had come across this situation quite a few times. A middle-aged man would walk into shul looking for a few dollars, a meal, sometimes a little company. This seemed like a very similar situation. But what was he doing in Yad Binyamin.
The man gave me a funny look.
"No, I don't need tzedakah," he said. He looked kind of amused. "We're driving down to Eilat, and we got off the 6, and we're looking for a place to stop and eat."
Why the ratty T-shirt? Because he's on vacation. From Long Island.
Only in Israel.