Borders

Lost in translation

Lost in translation

“You’re so lucky I am here to guide you, to protect you in this part of the city,” her friend had told her ten seasons past, while they walked through a wind-rubbed Muslim Quarter deep into December.

He said this when she pointed to words in Arabic written in blood-red paint, the letters drip-dried over old stone. “In this part of town, you never know,” he continued, “if Hamas or Islamic Jihad or even a salafi, perhaps, is close by and writing on walls.”

“What does it say?” she asked, as she glanced over each shoulder, right and left, afraid.

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Posted by Sarah Tuttle-Singer in Essays

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

Taking the wrong bus

Chol Hamoed Pesach Rush to Yes Planet (cinema) with my 3 children.
Movie starts in 10.
I tell my twelve year old to look out for the 2hundred and something bus.

It’s supposed to arrive any minute.
It starts to rain…

“Here it is Ema!”
“Great!”

Thank Gd for GoogleMaps.
Jump on quick!
Here is my Rav kav…
But where do I put it to pay?…

“We don’t take Rav Kavs..” he explains.
But I have a transfer.
Doesn’t work here either…
Confusion sets in…

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Posted by Annie Orenstein in Snippets
On Passover I’ll pour out wine for Mahmoud

On Passover I’ll pour out wine for Mahmoud

It’s Friday, which means I’m eating maklouba in the middle of the Muslim Quarter with Fadi.

My friend Amal took me there when I first started living in the Old City.

“What are you doing Friday night?” she said. “My friend Fadi works at this restaurant and he makes maklouba, and when the restaurant closes, all his friends come there to eat. Want to come?”

Um, yeah!

Maklouba is amazing. It’is chicken and onions and celery and carrots cooked with rice in a big old pot, and when it’s done, you take the pot, flip it over, tap it, and remove it from the rice. Some joke that it’s one of the pillars of Palestinian identity, along with resistance, struggle, and connection to the land.

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Posted by Sarah Tuttle-Singer in Essays

The untouchable wall

In 1965, the closest Jews could get to the Old City was from a vantage point at the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was possible to take a photo from across No Man’s Land, and the Dome of Rock (before it was painted gold) and the rubble along the outside wall were visible.

The Western Wall, however, was only a fantasized image.

Posted by Sharon Altshul in Images