By M. Alexander
I wear a necklace with The Star of David around my neck. I remember the first day that I got it. I was working front desk at a 4 star hotel in Santa Monica. Before I left for work, my parents told me I should probably tuck it into my jacket so that it would not be visible to guests of the hotel. Before my parents told me this, I had not really considered whether I was going to tuck it in or not. Several bellhops wear their cross visibly. Why should my Magen David be any different?
I now felt ashamed. Not ashamed to be a Jew, quite the opposite. I felt ashamed that I would even consider not wearing my Judaism proudly. The Star of David was once an obligation, something people were forced to wear to distinguish them as a lower class of people. It is now a sign of pride and connection. I feel connected to other Jews, people who might be strangers if they remain unaware that I am a Jew. It is a reminder that wherever I go, whatever I am doing, I am a Jew.
I walked into work with The Star of David over my jacket. My manager gave me a look and said “are you sure you want to wear that?” I nodded my head. The Chief of Operations walked by and asked me to tuck it in. I told him that the bellhops always wear their crosses, why is this different? He had no response and he walked away. These two interactions did not make me more hesitant, they solidified my pride.
Next, a guest walked in to check in to the hotel. I told him his room category. He asked for an upgrade and I told him that the luxury rooms were completely full. He then said “But I’m a Jew, can’t you do anything for me?” This completely stopped me in my tracks. Yes, I felt a connection to this man; yes I believe that as Jews, we should help each other. But I truly did not have any luxury rooms available. I now felt bad that I could not help this man. He was no longer a mere customer; he was a member of my tribe trying to manipulate our connection. After he left, I tucked n my Magen David. I now understood why my parents did not want me to leave it showing at work. It is not shame or fear; it is because I am a mere employee, bound to the rules of a corporation. I must treat everyone the same. I do not care if The Magen David changes the way people look at me, but at work, it is important that it does not change the way I look at others.