Dana // Tel Aviv
I was walking down Shenkin street in Tel Aviv at around 5 pm on Saturday when a black-hatted ultra-Orthodox man stopped to ask if there were any restaurants open in the area. At first, I didn’t find it odd that he was ultra-Orthodox and asking about open restaurants before Shabbat ended, so I told him that Orna and Ella was open. Then he asked me if they served pork.
“Oh, yes, they probably aren’t kosher,” I said.
“No, I want them to serve pork,” he said. “I want to eat pork, and I heard that here, on Shenkin street, you can eat pork.”
“Why do you want to eat pork?” I asked, confused, because even I, a secular Israeli, have never eaten pork, and here was this ultra religious man asking me about where to eat pork.
“I live in an ultra religious society, in Rishon LeZion, but I don’t believe in God,” he explained. “I’m unhappily married, I have children, but I don’t feel connected to any of it. I grew up in that society, but I did not choose it. So now I want to try pork for the first time in my life. I thought Shenkin was the street of sins.”
An appropriate sign or analogy for the times and many religious beliefs.