27 May, 2008

Now Hear This!

Israelis are known, among many things, for being expressive through their cars. By this I'm not referring to driving style or speed, although that too has become sadly stereotypical. I'm referring to the quantity of bumper stickers plastered all over what seems like the majority of the cars here. It got to be so much that a song (actually, a really good song) was written a couple years back in which all the lyrics were direct quotes from various popular bumper stickers.

A lot are political, a lot aren't, but the ones that I find funniest are those which are aimed at a direct dialogue with God. Things like "God in Heaven, we love you!" seem to me inappropriate for a bumper sticker, somehow, and yet they're everywhere. Come on, do you really think God is stuck here in this traffic jam, and getting excited about your sticker? If you love Him, show Him in more heavenly ways, I say.

And yet, despite my real cringe every time I see one of those, there is a religious bumper sticker that I like - short and simple:

I realize that it's pretty hard to see here, but it has the words that are familiar to Jews worldwide: Shema Yisrael, Ado(n)ai Elo(h)einu, Ado(n)ai Echad. Literally, it means, "Listen up, Jews, God is our Lord, God is one." It's the phrase that we've been saying for thousands of years, it's our mantra. But generally, when we say it nowadays, we're either a) in a synagogue, surrounded by people who don't need convincing, or b) at home, praying in our living room quietly to ourselves. And so no one is there to listen up - it's a shame, really.

But here, finally, is a good opportunity! "Listen up, Jews," and there are the Jews, potentially listening up all around you. What could be better?


Bruce said...

I'm in the US and have a simple bumper sticker which states: "I SUPPORT ISRAEL"

toby said...

Well, thanks! That does seem to qualify for the "short and simple" category :)