NY - A kindly Jewish man from Brooklyn is downplaying the notoriety he has received after a picture of him performing a simple Kiddush Hashem on a Brooklyn-bound Q Train went viral over the past week.
TABLET reports that the photo—-a stunning depiction of humanitarianism featuring an unidentified young black man sleeping comfortably against the shoulder of 65 year-old Isaac Theil—-was taken by a fellow passenger and posted to Reddit last Thursday, where over the course of the last seven days it has generated one million-plus likes on Facebook and been shared over 200,000 times.
Theil, who, according to family members and friends, has always possessed an innate temperament of grace and generosity, said he “never gave it a second thought,” but that hasn’t stopped those who know him from throwing a little extra attention his way after he has become an Internet sensation.
Within two days of the photo being posted, Theil arrived at shul for Shabbat last Saturday only to have his rabbi publicly acknowledge his Kiddush Hashem with a warm smile and two thumbs up.
“The whole thing was happenstance, and I simply remembered the times my own head would bop on someone’s shoulder because I was so tired after a long day,” said Theil.
Theil said, “Maybe the photo wouldn’t have become so popular if people weren’t seeing a Jewish man with a yarmulke and a black man in a hood, and because they might not necessarily correlate the two. But there is only one reason that I didn’t move, and let him continue sleeping, and that has nothing to do with race.
He was simply a human being who was exhausted, and I knew it and happened to be there and have a big shoulder to offer him.”