What did you observe?
I observed the original restaurant, which has proved to be similar to other restaurants, at first glance, but, when I spent there some time, I understood that the kosher restaurant was quite different from other restaurants not only due to its dishes but also due to its clients and services.
Why was this situation out of your comfort zone?
In fact, I felt a bit uncomfortable, when I saw some people, who wear specific clothes that matched their religious dress code. Even though there were a lot of clients, who were just like me in their casual clothes but those people in religious clothes made me a bit uncomfortable because I am not a religious person and they made me feel as if I was present at a sacred ceremony or as if I was in a sacred place, a sort of church, or something like that.
What did you learn?
As I attended the kosher restaurant, I learned a different culture but the kosher restaurant was not just a piece of a different culture but it was rather a different lifestyle because people, who attend such places on the regular basis should be very concerned with their diet and traditions. In fact, the food is not prior in this restaurant but the communication and lifestyle are valued by people attending the kosher restaurant regularly above all. Moreover, I learned to respect people, who have different beliefs and lifestyle.
What perceptions changed or remained the same about the people observed?
When I have just decided to go to the kosher restaurant, I thought that I would observe people, who are entirely focused on their religion. However, I found people, who were similar to me, as well as people, with strong religious beliefs. However, I understood that all those people in the restaurant are not really different from me and we can be closer culturally to each other, if we maintain the cultural exchange, even if such exchange occurs, while attending the kosher restaurant.
What types of things did you notice about the people? Did you witness any socially conscious individuals? What traits did you see?
I noticed ordinary people, who dined and who were apparently accustomed to dine in the kosher restaurant, although there were some individuals, who wear religious clothes and were convinced believers, who made me a bit surprised, even though I expected to see people like them. On the other hand, I did not notice any social disparities or distinct features that would indicate to the social division of people within the restaurant. The ambiance was a bit rigid but still democratic. In fact, I did not really feel uncomfortable in the restaurant, although some things, like serving fish and meat dishes separately surprised me.
What type of social inequality did you observe or experience?
I did not feel any sort of social inequality. Although, I felt that waiters and people in the restaurant feel respect to those clients, who were in a religious clothes, while I, in person, was surprised observing them.
Did your comfort level change from the time the observation began until it ended and if so how?
In the course of the attendance of the kosher restaurant, I felt a bit uneasy, when I saw people in religious clothes and when waiters refused to serve me fish and meat together. However, I did not feel uncomfortable, while, by the end of the dinner, I was satisfied that I had decided to go to dine at this restaurant.
How has this experience helped you to be more of a socially conscious individual?
In fact, this experience helped me to learn how diverse our society is. We can live and unnoticed the cultural and religious diversity, which are next to our regular life in our family and community. We may be unaware of a cultural richness of our society, while some people maintain their traditional lifestyle, which has survived for decades and centuries.
What traits will you need to exhibit?
In the kosher restaurant environment I will need to exhibit tolerance and respect to other cultures as well as the intention to bridge gaps between my cultural environment and that of Jewish people, who attend the restaurant. Along with tolerance, I need to develop the ability to live and work in culturally diverse environment.
What areas need to be improved and what steps will you take to ensure there is growth in this area?
On attending, the kosher restaurant I arrived to the conclusion that I had changed my view on the society I live in and on my own behavior and place in the society. On the ground of my experience I had developed the action plan to make improvements in my views, behavior and lifestyle. First, I have to learn to live and work in a multicultural environment, which is a norm for the modern society. This means that I have to learn that all people are different and the kosher restaurant helped me in this regard consistently. Therefore, I have to carry on attending places, where I can get acquainted with other cultures and I can learn new traditions other people follow and observe strictly. Furthermore, I have to develop tolerance to other cultures and traditions of people with a different cultural background. The attendance of the kosher restaurant was a step toward the development of such tolerance. In fact, it is possible to carry on the acquaintance with other cultures through their national cuisines attending different restaurants oriented on the national cuisine. In addition, I would like to travel to other countries or at least attend other communities, which are located next to mine, but which I have little knowledge of. In addition, I have to learn to respect traditions of other cultures because I may be surprised but I should not condemn them or oppose to the lifestyle of people with a different cultural background. The respect will come with knowledge as I get acquainted with new traditions of different cultures.
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