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?

That same aforementioned babette helped an (old, possibly cool) Muslim woman with her heavy shopping bags and received a blessing in Arabic for her efforts. She didn’t understand it but you can tell a blessing when you get one. She said, “Thanks.”

(This piece is an excerpt from a longer essay, “Thanks, Jerusalem“, which was published by the Times of Israel in 2016.)

Helen Gottstein

Posted by Helen Gottstein

Helen Gottstein is the proud owner of Loud and Clear, יעוץ תקשורת , a communication training business that works with top executives and others on their communication and presentation skills. She blogs on the Times of Israel on business, women and liberal Jewish values.

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