Less than 3o minutes driving distance and a world away. Bnei Brak. How often am I mad at the orthodox Jews infringing on what I feel is my right to live as I choose? Weekly (on a good week …). How often do I take the time to look at “their world” without judgment? I am ashamed to say this does not happen. This Hanukkah was an exception to the rule, and for a couple of hours we wondered through the poorest, and most populated city in Israel - Bnei Brak. The 8th night of Hanukkah and hundreds of Hanukkah menorahs lit the narrow streets. The traditional ones, with olive oil, not the convenient candles we use at home. Most menorahs are in a glass “house” - something I see for the first time. I walk on a main street in the very center of my country, and it feels as if I am on Mars. Shops for men only (have you ever seen a shop filled with black male shoes?). “Kosher” phones (no internet access), every street corner filled with donation boxes, our guide tells us that on Friday you can see packages left on street corners for needy people to take. The streets are dirty but on these streets, a mom can leave her toddler in a stroller unattended - without worrying. A sense of community I have not seen anywhere else. Walking through the winding alleys filled with people dressed in their own dress code, living by their own rules I am reminded of the words of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hasidic Judaism (many of the Hasidim live in Bnei Brak) about us judging others, and what does it say about us. “ …should you look upon your fellow man and see a blemish, it is your own imperfection you are encountering - you are being shown what it is you must correct within yourself”. Worth keeping in mind next time I judge others. Maybe some of the Hanukkah light penetrated deeper this year ….