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 I have very wonderful friends who are kind enough to pick me up in their automobiles and drive me to the synagogue during the week. They are very punctual and the time that is set for pick up is almost always exactly observed. Because of this, I go down to the corner of my street and wait there at least 10 minutes before the appointed time because I enjoy the scene which is never the same and always interesting.

In the morning I have the pleasure of watching the Jerusalem sanitation staff at work. There is a driver in a small vehicle that has enormous brushes at its bottom that drives around the neighborhood to pick up the litter that somehow accumulates on the street. He is always talking on his telephone and I marvel at the fact that he can maneuver this vehicle between cars that are parked on both sides of the street, allowing him only a few millimeters of space to pass. Since the cars are parked there, the litter that is under those cars is never picked up. This does not seem to disturb anyone, as I imagine that litter that is not seen is not considered litter.
I delight in seeing the children of the neighborhood going to school in the morning and returning from school in the afternoon. I noticed that they are much more somber and reticent going to school and they are much more exuberant and noisy returning home from school. Having been in school myself for decades, I appreciate their honesty and emotion. Like much else in life, school is a necessary pain.
I am always fascinated by seeing the older sister who must be eight or nine years old shepherding her younger brother or brothers to school, guiding them across what could be regarded as a dangerous intersection and making certain that they have not dropped anything from their backpacks. The children here in Israel are independent at a very early age, going on buses by themselves and walking everywhere that they wish.
My experience in the United States was that children were much more pampered and guarded. I also noticed that even when the weather was rainy and cold these children tramped on without really paying too much attention to the inclement conditions that existed. The children are exciting to watch and beautiful to behold. I was born into a generation that unfortunately witnessed the extermination of more than one million Jewish children. To this day, I treasure the sight of Jewish children free and confident, healthy, noisy and filled with the enthusiasm that only youth possesses. When children are involved, the passing scene is always exhilarating.
Then there are others that I see regularly as I observe this world and its inhabitants. There are the collectors of money, most of whom I will shortly meet when I arrive at the synagogue for the morning or evening prayers. They recognize me as a nod of recognition always passes between us. They hasten from synagogue to synagogue in our neighborhood and I believe that they are all in very good physical shape because of the enormous amount of walking that they do.
There are also dog walkers that are becoming more numerous in our neighborhood. The dogs in Israel, at least in our neighborhood, according to my observation, are rather docile creatures rarely if ever emitting a bark or making an aggressive movement. Those who are walking the dogs are on their phones of course and pay little heed to the behavior of the animal whose welfare they are entrusted with. The dogs in our neighborhood come in all sizes and breeds and I find it very interesting to be able to witness the variety that exists in God's natural world. Since neither the dogs nor those who are walking them ever pay much attention to me, I view the passing scene in tranquility and security.
 If you think that dogs come in great variety, you should only view the people that walked by you every day. That is the true wonder of creation. As the Talmud puts it, we are all fashioned out of the same mold but no two of us are like. That is what makes the passing scene so fascinating.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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