A few days ago I took a panoramic dental x-ray.
“Madame, please remove necklaces, earrings, or any other metal object.”
My heart skips a beat.
I was ready for that: I had also brought a headscarf in my purse. But I live in a country where people look weirdly at you if you say: uh, I wear a wig, and there are metal clips inside it.
“Should I take that off too?”
People often ask me how Jews can be so resistant and resilient after all the pressures of history.
How is it possible that Jews still exist after all the attempts at making them disappear?
Human beings tend to comply with the masses, to the majority.
Following what others do without wondering is convenient, almost natural.
Following trends, movements, ideologies without having to develop one of our own.
Human beings love all types of convenience, even mental.
Being different and thinking for yourself requires hard work, and therefore it is inconvenient.
It takes mental energy, enormous efforts, continuous concentration.
When you do not comply, when you fight for being true to yourself, no matter what other people say or think, when you look in the mirror and say: this is me and not a copy of someone else, it is then that you shine with your light.
Over the millennia, Jews have been building a mental and spiritual shield by keeping their independence in reasoning, studying, and believing.
According to Judaism, you are worthy for who you are and not for what other people would like you to be.
This message is universal, for Jews and not, for whoever desires to be someone and not to be invisible.
Once you choose the life path you will follow, the helm of your life ship is in your hands. It is up to you to identify a goal and the strategy you will adopt to reach it; the mistakes you will make will also be yours.
The growth is your own and of no one else.
You are yourself and not an imitation of someone else.
“I need to use the restroom to take off the wig and wear the headscarf,” I told the doctor.
Under the puzzled gaze of the doctor, I left the room, proud of belonging to a people that seem to have strange rituals but that have indeed fought hard to defend their spirit, their preciousness of being different, their uniqueness of being unique.
I went through the waiting room wearing my floral headscarf.
Some people there checked me out.
I looked at them and smiled, sending a silent message.
Diversity is the secret of endlessness.
Gheula Canarutto Nemni
Translation by Tamar Dor