This morning at my sick fund (socialized medicine HMO) pharmacy: the middle aged Religious Jewish lady three people ahead of me pulls out FOUR (4) pages worth of list with carefully ordered names of medicines. She says in Hebrew to the young new immigrant from France pharmacist, “These are from everyone in my building. We need to go item by item to be sure that ALL of the medicines are Kosher for Passover.”
The pharmacist answers, “Just a moment. Manal is our Kosher for Passover, expert.” Manal the pharmacist comes out from the back and sets herself up on a computer. The two women begin going through the list. Pen in hand, the Jewish lady begins reading. After each medication is read out she stops…waiting for Manal the pharmacist to check the computer and answer: “Kasher” (Kosher) or “We have a Passover substitute for that.”
My number is called, as I reach my attending pharmacist, I point in the direction of the two women, waving my hand in the Israeli gesture which wordlessly asks: “What is this?” My pharmacist, smiles and says “Manal has been handling this for years.”
In my nearly 30 years of living in Israel I have witnessed many beautiful moments of co-existence but this one, this very one, goes to the top of the list. Why? It goes to the top of the list because Manal’s head covering lets all of us know that she is a religious Muslim woman and yet it is precisely her expertise that is trusted to determine what is Kosher for Passover and what is not. I had lost a bit of my positive attitude that peace will come…today at the pharmacy I got it back. Wishing you and yours a Happy and Kosher Passover!