Rachel Sharansky Danziger

Rachel Sharansky Danziger is a life-long Jerusalemite who's in love with her city's vibrant human scene. She blogs about life in Israel, Judaism, and parenting for The Times of Israel, Sifriyat Pijama, and Kveller, and you can follow her adventures on Facebook and via her personal blog.
Jerusalem’s Moments

Jerusalem’s Moments

In the past 50 days, we celebrated Jerusalem as we experience it.

We celebrated the beauty of this city, which shines throughout the day – and night.

We didn’t shy away from Jerusalem’s challenges: We thought about terror and borders and the differences between us, and why some people don’t stand for the siren, while others do.

But we also delved into Jerusalem’s quirky, fun moments, its dressed-up dogs and its graffiti and its open-mic nights.

We watched sheep joining the Jerusalem Marathon, soldiers knitting, and old men playing music by Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Essays
Giving birth in Jerusalem

Giving birth in Jerusalem

“We already sealed the womb itself,” explained Professor Elchalal. “Now we’re stitching the tissues around it.”

The professor’s voice rose, oddly disembodied, from behind the curtain that separated my head from the rest of my body. A C-section, I thought, is all about separations – we separate tissue from tissue, baby from womb. Under these circumstances, a curtain cutting the body in two is only fitting.

“And how do you stitch the tissues together, professor?”

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Essays
Mission (un)accomplished

Mission (un)accomplished

We ran.

All around us, other parents and children were running too.

strollers screeched.

Snack bags kept falling in everyone’s wake.

Ahead lay Teddy Park, where water shoots from the ground on set times, and kids can play in it.

The water was about to shoot out in less than five minutes.

Could we make it?

To our side loomed the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, silent witnesses to our anticipation and our rush.

Above us, Jerusalem’s summer sky spread wide and blue, a fitting setting for a particularly hot day.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Snippets

Where we wait

Jerusalem is not an easy city to travel across, sometimes.

I was waiting for the light rail train near Mount Scopus, and my fellow Jerusalemites were losing their patience fast. A school girl in a mini-skirt whined, “Come on! We’re, like, waiting forever!” to a friend, and squeezed herself onto the bench. The young man she pushed, a student of architecture judging by his large folder, rolled his eyes. Next to him, an elderly lady huffed and squirmed to make room.

Perhaps, I thought, waiting is the appropriate activity for this particular location. Our waiting, measured by minutes, is but a ripple on a pond. Underneath this place’s surface, the land is saturated with decades of yearning.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Snippets
“Na na banana” in the Pantheon

“Na na banana” in the Pantheon

Sometimes, you encounter Jerusalem in absentia.

It happened to me once, when I walked through the Pantheon in Rome.

The ceiling curved above me, the gilded walls loomed all around me, and I knew that I was supposed to look up at that marvel of Roman architecture, and feel awed.

But I didn’t feel awe.

I didn’t feel admiration.

I looked at that beautiful building, and laughed.

The emperor who commissioned the Pantheon – Emperor Hadrian – ordered the execution of one of our greatest sages, Rabbi Akiva.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Snippets

The old, the new, and the costly

When you walk down Jaffa street in Jerusalem, the light rail train to your left is reflected in the antique shop to your right.

The antique shops charge too much.

Some would say the light rail train does too.

After all, why pay so much, when it’s barely faster than people riding bikes…

But it’s all oddly fitting. After all, The Old is forever on sale here, and The New isn’t all that fast to come.

Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Images, Snippets
Generations of valor

Generations of valor

There is one day a year when the red flag is still carried proudly through Jerusalem: May 9th, Victory Day. The flag is carried by WWII veterans, whose achievements and sacrifices brought Nazi Germany to its knees.

Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Images
Of cats and ghosts

Of cats and ghosts

It started with a cat.

One moment, it was a nice cat: It jumped onto my lap, curled up, and purred.

A moment later, it was no longer a nice cat: It sunk its claws into my hand, bit me, and jumped off.

Four phone calls and one rabies scare later, I learned that if you ever get scratched by a stray cat in Jerusalem, you’re supposed to visit Jerusalem’s Regional Health Bureau on Jaffa street. Given the local cat population in Jerusalem, getting scratched isn’t all that unlikely. In fact, you might end up there too.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Essays