[I am in Praha/Prague (Praha means “threshold” in Czech) in the Czech Republic. The next few posts are some random observations.]
I was walking through the Jewish Quarter of Prague for the third time since my arrival here last week. On my first stroll through the quarter I couldn’t help but notice the many sidewalk shops and marionette stores selling magnets, statues, and puppets bearing the image and likeness of Hasidic Jews. It struck me as odd, but I didn’t think much about it.
Today on my third visit the irony had turned to farce. These toy Jews were the only Jews most of the people I met had met. They knew Jews only as abstractions, ghosts from a past they no longer remember terminating.
Sadly the only Jews I met in Prague were puppets made in the image of massacred Hasidim, and the only Jews I heard people talking about were puppet masters manipulating the world to oppress Palestinians. I was something new to many: a Jew without strings.