One of the hazards” of Jewish evangelism is that our missionaries must live and work in the big cities. That is where the most concentrated areas of Jewish people are. But city life poses its own particular problems. Out in the country a person might get run over by a farm tractor or be gored by an angry bull, but city dwellers must protect themselves from whizzing taxis, pickpockets and muggers. Merely riding public transportation puts a person at risk so, according to a recent article in the New York Daily News, some innovative souls have devised new ways to cope with city life.

The article, “Urban camouflage: Street looks seem to offer protection,” describes a certain corporate executive named Ron Katz who is riding the subway dressed as a bum. He wears a dirty, tattered trenchcoat. Unkempt hair and unlaced shoes complete his disguise, and apart from his regular wallet he carries a “mugger roll” — a “stash” of $20.00 he is ready to give up in case he gets robbed. Katz figures no thief will ever accuse him of trying to hold out–not the way he is dressed.

The article goes on to say that because of the rising rate of New York subway crimes many other riders have, of necessity, adopted creative ways to protect themselves.

Kurt, a law student, says he “New Yorkifies” his wallet every time he must ride the subway. That means he removes all his identification, especially pictures, leaving only one credit card and a twenty dollar bill vulnerable to theft.

Another rider, Albert, impersonates an off-duty policeman. Even when there are seats available, he stands up throughout the train ride. And whenever the train pulls into a station he sticks his head out as though he were on patrol. He says it seems to work.

And for the utmost protection while riding in an especially bad neighborhood late at night, Albert says he has also considered dressing as an Amish farmer. He admits, however, that there is a fundamental flaw in that tactic: An Amish person would not use a subway unless it was a horse-drawn vehicle!

“Off-duty cop” impersonator Albert offers still another way. He says, “My friends read the Bible on the train. They tell me reading the Bible is the best way to avoid trouble.”

The article ends with the statement: “The names of the interviewees have been changed to protect their cover.”

Well, whether or not the whole thing is a spoof, we do know one fact: the best way of avoiding trouble really is reading the Bible — and not just on the subway!