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Philadelphia Mayor becomes Madonna in Jerusalem.

BY notjustagirlintheworld on December 13, 2013
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I had the opportunity to hear the mayor of Philadelphia speak about his recent trip to Israel today. He went as a part of a partnership between Philadelphia based venture capitalists and those in our sister city of Tel Aviv. But for him this was more than a business trip.

He told his "Jewish Story." He was raised a Catholic. His family was the first black family to move into the North Philly neighborhood in which he was raised. By the time he was seven, there were only three white families left, one of whom was the neighborhood pharmacist -- a nice Jewish man -- for whom he worked all throughout high school and even into his freshman year of college. While he was working at the pharmacy his grandmother was working at the deli. Between the pharmacy and deli Mayor Nutter learned everything he need to know about being Jewish and in his own way, he connected.

He was very close to his grandmother(who worked the Deli). Despite being in all other ways fierce, she was deathly afraid to fly, but she always told him that if she had a chance to fly to the Holy Land she would do it because G-d would not let her die on the way to the Holy Land. She must have told him that 1000 times and he never forgot it. He promised himself that if he ever got the chance to go to Israel he would go for his grandmother. When the opportunity was presented to him earlier this year, with his grandmother's voice still in his head he said "yes."

The Mayor only spent a few days in Israel, but they were packed with sights and networking and meetings with politicians and entrepreneurs and everyone in between. On his last day he went to the Kotel, the western, or wailing, wall. Still hearing his grandmother's voice, he took out his business card and wrote a note for for his beloved grandmother, and put the note in the wall, as is the custom. At that deeply personal, sacred moment, a man walked up to him and tied a red string around his wrist telling him that the red string would protect him from "evil and bad things." (The red string comes from the practice of Jewish mysticism drawn from the Kabbalah. A decade or so ago. the practice of Kabbalah and red strings became very popular with the Hollywood set, the most vocal of whom was Madonna- the pop star.)

The Mayor lifted his arm and to show us that he was still, weeks after his trip, wearing the red string and then went on to tell us that as he was he was leaving the Kotel he saw a man selling yamulkes. He stopped long enough to notice there was only one maroon colored yamulke --his grandmother's favorite color -- and he bought it. And so our black mayor now wears a read string on his wrist and has a maroon yumulke in his car "because 'you never know when you'll need a yamulke."

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