25 Days in Tokyo—Zero day at LAX
In late October, 2015, I was in Tokyo, Japan for 25 days. I shot many photographs. This series presents the most interesting, compelling, or touching person or scene I saw each day I was there. Click here to see the previous entries.
It’s been a year to the day since I last traveled to Tokyo, and I should mention the rabbi. While waiting at LAX to board my Delta flight to Haneda I saw this beautifully-frumpy old man wearing a yarmulke. I was pretty sure what he was, so I left my place in the boarding queue to approach him.
I said “Are you a rabbi?”
“Yes,” he said.
“May I photograph you?”
He said nothing, but lifted his arms up wide in a gesture of acceptance and agreement.
I shot a couple of pictures of him. When he saw I was finished he asked me if I was Jewish.
“No, rabbi, but I respect your faith.”
“Respect is enough,” he said, then added “I am eighty-one years old.”
I didn’t respond, but his words made me wish my own father had lived that long.
By then the Delta staff were about to close the departure gate, so I left the rabbi sitting where he was and hoped he realized I wasn’t rude but just late. But rabbis that old probably have more patience than the god they worship.
(Terminal 5, Los Angeles International Airport 2015)