Irene Rabinowitz

Irene Rabinowitz is a native New Englander who made aliyah in 2014. After a long career in the non-profit sector, she now consults with NGOs both in Israel and the United States. She writes, walks Jerusalem streets, and drinks a lot of coffee. She blogs for the Times of Israel and on her personal site.
Those dreams, this city

Those dreams, this city

It came to me in my dreams as a child. Maybe it was the stories of King David and Solomon’s Temple when I was in Hebrew school. Maybe it was the images in picture books from the library with the Temple shining in the sun and sheep grazing on the hills of the city. Maybe it was just there, some genetic link dating back centuries that brought Jerusalem into my dreams. And now this city is my home, in every sense of the word. When you love something from afar, without knowing the reality of snuggling in its arms, there is much to learn when first surrounded by your object of desire. And this city teaches, as no other city in the world does. History and modernity tied together, and we learn from both that they are not mutually exclusive. Jerusalem is a city of ancient dreams and legends, always with new dreams and legends joining the ancient.

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Posted by Irene Rabinowitz in Essays

Victory Day in Jerusalem

Today there was a gathering of World War II veterans in Jerusalem. There were many Russian veterans and their families. And red flags. And men sporting medals.

Posted by Irene Rabinowitz in Images

Where languages abound

Today in Jerusalem I was checking out at the SuperSol on Agron. I was able to understand and respond in Hebrew.

I realized that the two women behind me in line were speaking in French and could not respond to the checkout lady in Hebrew. At that moment, the young woman on the register said that her mother had made aliyah from Belgium and spoke Flemish and French and that she could also speak a little French. Within three minute, this little interchange went from Hebrew to English to French with a smattering of Flemish thrown in.

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Posted by Irene Rabinowitz in Snippets
Only the cats moved

Only the cats moved

When the siren, sounding mournful, echoed through the Western Wall plaza, only the cats remained in motion running free. I was crossing towards the women’s section and had heard the chanting of a bar mitzvah boy, the laughter of children, and the pedantic tones of a plethora of tour guides before the siren.

When the siren ceased, the plaza at the Kotel kicked into gear. Tour guides waving flags, children laughing, and the return to prayer. The bar mitzvah continued until you could hear the joyful singing of praise for the young man. The women of the family peered over the mechitza laughing and clapping.

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Posted by Irene Rabinowitz in Essays

Where we celebrate everything

I was in the Ben Avi liquor/wine shop in Nahalat Shiva. As the proprietor and I were discussing the smokiness level of a certain single malt, I realized that “White Christmas” was playing on the music loop in the store. When I pointed it out, he laughed, shrugged, and said: “We’re Israeli, we celebrate everything all the time”.

I love this city.

Posted by Irene Rabinowitz in Snippets

Where we mingle

Church bells ringing in Jerusalem for Holy Thursday, the amplified call to prayer emanating from the Al Aqsa on the Temple Mount, and thousands of Israelis (yes, I saw Jewish and Arab Israelis in the parks enjoying the Pesach break) enjoying the outdoors for Chol Hamoed.

This is Israel.

Posted by Irene Rabinowitz in Snippets