Op-Ed: Do Tour Guides Need to be "Politically Correct" Too?
Shalom PollackShalom is a veteran writer, lecturer and Israel tour guide/ planner. More of his articles and snippets of his DVD, "Israel - Ancient Roots, Modern Miracle", can be seen on his web site, www.shalompollacktours.co.il Mr. Pollack is open to invitations to appear during his annual speaking tour in the USA. .
I am not writing to remind you that I can do a wonderful job guiding your groups and that I would like to work with you once again.
Yesterday, Steve made things clear to me.
I have been guiding in my beloved country for over thirty years and the consistant and growing expressions of gratitude keep me going stronger than ever b'h.
I was not born a guide, but I was born with the Jewish soul, a neshama, that Hashem chose to give me.
Not every Jew is given the opportunity to express his love for Hashem's People, Land and Torah in such a clear and decisive way.
Not every one is tested as to how important these things really are to him.
I never gave a thought to the possibility that this would happen in a personal way.
However, as a guide in Eretz Yisroel, the Land of Israel, these opportunities have indeed come my way b'h and with it, the price to pay for them.
Clearly, the vast majority of guiding in Israel is off limits to me because I choose to keep the holy Shabbat, as even many Jewish groups continue their tours on the Sabbath. I had a wonderful position with an important company, but I would not guide their optional tours on Shabbat - so I was a problem, though the people themselves loved me and my tours.
I had to choose.
Hadassah Organization once fired me from a job because I dared point out where the "Green Line" began - in the heart of Jerusalem. No more jobs with Hadassah. They would rather I not confuse the " peace process" with information. Their ladies could not be confused with the facts.
They are not the only organization or company that has felt I am not "politically correct". It is amazing how many friends and business contacts one can make by being frivolous about our beloved, God-given land.
Another Jewish issue that upsets some folks - and tour operators - is the case of our brother, Jonathan Pollard.
It disturbed one of your tourists when I wore a Free Pollard shirt and explained the great injustice meted out to him, in my opinion, by the United States judiciary. He was insulted that I dare question the US justice system... and your company was terrified to hear that he was displeased.
I am sure that our heroic and martyred brother Jonathan is pleased.
It is the least we can do for he poor man.
But business is business and the real world calls for the kind of considerations that our pure neshama was just not aware of when given to our bodies at birth.
On the other hand, not everyone is given the opportunity to transmit our cherished values to his children and grandchildren by personal example.
Thank you very much for the opportunity.
I will never forget you and your colleagues.
May we merit to see the rebuilding of our Holy Temple ( it is beyond the Green line, I'm afraid)