Leadership In The Line
Adam Cutler is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, Class XVII. Adam became a Rabbi of Beth Tzedec Congregation in Toronto in 2009. A Toronto native, he is a graduate of JTS. Adam previously served as the Resnick Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Sons of Israel in Briarcliff Manor, New York and as the Legacy Heritage Fund Student Rabbi of Congregation Shaara T’fille in Saratoga Springs, New York. He is a lifelong Ramahnik and a founder of Varsity Jews. Adam can be reached at email@example.com.
It was Friday afternoon in Tel-Aviv’s central station, when my wife, Debra and I waited for our Jerusalem-bound bus. We stood towards the front of the line, with only a family – 2 parents and 4 children – ahead. At first, a neat line formed behind us. Then, slyly, my future bus mates started sneaking in from left and right. The bus arrived. The scene descended into chaos. Pushing and shoving ensued. The family became separated. I was afraid that there wouldn’t be room for Debra and me.
Although my Hebrew is strong, I’ve always felt bashful using it in front of Israelis. This, however, was no time for timidity. Seeing injustice unfold, I stuck out my arm and yelled. “This family was here first. Let them on the bus.” The responses were less than kind and included several offerings that there would be sufficient seats for everyone. The family boarded (although could not find seats together), followed by Debra and me. Indeed, there were not enough seats for everyone.
I recall this incident whenever I need to speak up (in whatever language) to make change in the face of injustice. A civil society begins with patience and courtesy.