Snippets

From the mouth of babes

From the mouth of babes

Erev Yom Yerushalayim.

I walk an hour from work to pick up my two year old from daycare, still no buses even though Trump is already in the air. The frustration of a city stuck begins to give way to an air of celebration.

At home, my four year old daughter and her friend sit on the floor, coloring and sticking stickers. She tells her friend that the gold stickers are “כמו ירושלים של זהב,” and the two of them burst into song:

ירושלים של זהב
ושל נחושת ושל אור
הלא לכל שירייך
אני כינור

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Posted by Arielle Socolof Avraham in Snippets
The Jewish Spring, Jerusalem Style

The Jewish Spring, Jerusalem Style

Ask a Jew when the highest stress time on the Jewish calendar is, and the answer undoubtedly will be Passover . Add to the spring frenzy of house-cleaning and changing kitchenware, grocery orders, and extra preparations, and throw in the unusual wrench of a rare U.S. Presidential visit to Jerusalem in the days before the chag (holiday), and you have a recipe for city-wide High Anxiety of Olympic proportions. These preparations are replicated by the observant all over the world, but somehow the concentration seems heightened in Jerusalem.

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Posted by Heddy Abramovitz in Snippets
The most Jerusalem funeral ever

The most Jerusalem funeral ever

You know when you start your day visiting your parents and then the man who lives alone in their building is found dead in his apartment and your sister tries to resuscitate him to no avail, and he barely has family and what family he has doesn’t know how to organize a funeral so you and your sisters and the local amazing Chabad rabbi organize his funeral, and you get in touch with your righteous former neighbors from the Mount of Olives area to help secure the funeral and complete the minyan, and the deceased man’s Tel Aviv relatives are terrified to go to the funeral because they are afraid they’ll be attacked and you tell them it will be fine and then it’s not fine because the local Arabs decide to throw stones at them during the funeral, and then after the burial you get to learn more about the deceased and how he was born in Hebron 84 years ago, lived in the Old City and then moved to Katamon after 1948, served as a paratrooper in the six day war and worked for the government for forty years, retired and became a recluse in your parent’s building until he passed away this morning and was privileged to be buried in the world’s oldest Jewish cemetery facing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem this evening?

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Posted by Miriam Schwab in Snippets
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

It’s complicated

Laughing, a 19-year-old (cool, Jewish) babe offered the knife to her (cool, Muslim) manager at the restaurant they both work at and tilted her head to better expose her throat. “Stop it!” he laughed back, “There are cameras here! They won’t understand.”

Welcome to Jerusalem. It’s complicated.

In contrast, next week, as we descend into Jerusalem Day, I’m nervous. Actually, I feel sick thinking about it. As the chanting, flag-waving, packs surge through the Old City to once again scream simple, simple abuse in the Muslim, Christian and Armenian quarters, who will hold them back? Lieberman? Mayor Nir Barkat?

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Posted by Helen Gottstein 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

Of mold and snow

When we discovered that our second-hand washing machine had mold in the interior, we didn’t want to keep it next to our beds (the only place to hook it up inside the apartment.) Because we lived in a ground-floor apartment though, we were able to hook it up outside where we used it happily for four years.

Here it is in the winter of 2013, during one of the biggest snowstorms we ever had in that apartment. Somehow, seeing that snow piled on top of our old washing machine captures for me some of the combined feelings of captivation and constraint that we live with in Jerusalem. Rejoicing in the simple things — like a few inches of snow — while simultaneously coping with compromised living standards that often border on the hilarious to a Westerner. Oh Jerusalem!

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Posted by Emunah Fialkoff in Images, Snippets
The small joys of Jerusalem

The small joys of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is where I’m raising my kids. It’s an infinitely walkable city. There are new joys to find around every corner, in every season.

An unknown park. A mulberry tree whose branches are dripping with ripe, black fruit. Public fountains to play in during the hot days of summer. Elusive snow in the winter.

Jerusalem is a city of small pleasures, just waiting to be discovered.

Posted by Yedida Lubin in Snippets
A prophecy fulfilled

A prophecy fulfilled

Every Shabbat, I pass through a public park where dozens of parents and children, senior citizens on benches, teenagers in circles, and just ordinary folk are idling away a Jerusalem Sabbath afternoon. In a flash, the words of the prophet Zechariah come to life before my eyes: “Old men and old women will again sit in the squares of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in its streets” (Zech. 8:4–5).

It was precisely this image that Rabbi Akiva conjured up in the Talmudic story in which he laughed at the sight of foxes prowling in the Holy of Holies of the destroyed Temple, while the three rabbis who accompanied him cried. His imagination carried him far beyond the immediate reality, to the distant future and eternal truth. I feel the full intensity of God’s abundant goodness, which has allowed me to live in Jerusalem, the royal sanctuary and the desired destination of ordinary people who wish to live a life of love and goodness.

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Posted by Benjamin (Benny) Lau 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