I encountered two incidents in the last week that drove home how many commandments in the Torah protect us from emulating the moral shortcomings of other nations.
First, I was walking down the Avenue, and kept finding myself in shops that a particular non-Jewish woman was also frequenting. I happened to notice her because aside from her loud attire, she was yelling into the phone. As we went up the street after exiting another shop, we passed a fruit stand. She was still on the phone, but grabbed fruit from the stand and kept on walking. One of the owners happened to be outside the shop and told her she had to pay for the fruit. To which she yelled, "So call the police then". Then she continued walking, and for a full 2 blocks kept muttering loudly, "Pay for one cherry. One cherry! Damn fool!". To be honest, I was astonished that she couldn't comprehend that yes, even for one cherry- which are currently $4+ a pound- you do need to pay. If you take anything, even a pea, without paying for it, it's called stealing.
Then today I was on the metro going uptown. I made my connection and was glad to see that there was one seat available if I squeezed my little butt in between the two guys who were sitting, legs wide open, on the given bench. I consequently put my foot between them, pivoted and dropped myself into the space. Because I had put in my foot before pivoting, the men moved their legs and I was able to sit just as the train yanked itself out of the station. I had barely rested my back against the seat when a man and his female companion started in. "She doesn't say 'Excuse me', she just puts her foot there and sits down. No excuse me! Just puts her foot.", etc. etc. For 5 minutes. To be honest, perhaps I should have said "Excuse me". But in my mind, they were the ones being rude by hogging the space! In other cities, saying "Excuse me" gets you somewhere. On the MTA, good luck. Yet the irony was that, like the Cherry woman, this guy had no clue that it is actually very rude to keep your legs wide open when people are entering the train looking for a spot. But even more importantly, he felt that it was acceptable to attempt to publicly humiliate/embarrass me. Not that he succeeded, but the difference between his mindset and the frum mindset (aka that embarrassing someone is tantamount to murder) was apparent.
Let's just say that I'm really glad that I'm a Jew right now.