Last-Minute in the Sunshine

I’ve described Jerusalem by the shining white stones of its buildings. I’ve tried to capture Jerusalem in words like “intense” and “holy” and “diverse.” I’ve made friends out of the acquaintances on Jerusalem’s buses and in her cafes. And I even introduced a sabra to the Jewish people in the hills of Jerusalem’s Ein Karem (his passport has no country, but we know).

Still, it’s the wee hours before Pesach that showcase quintessential Jerusalem for me (how appropriate, as we near Shavuot). After midnight, the city is dark. The streets are nearly empty (it’s a city that doesn’t fully sleep). Cafes are finishing their final scrub-down before the holiday, sponga water cascading into the gutters. Homes stand empty of leavening for the holiday (or it’s been sold…or so we trust). And the florists…well, the florists are open. Because Jerusalem is in the final throes of preparation for Pesach, and everyone needs flowers. It’s almost the last minute, and the florists don’t close until right before candlelighting.

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Posted by Anne Gordon 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

Noticing the Everyday Miracles in Jerusalem

Neighborhood playground (Ir Ganim- Kiryat Menachem facebook page)

Not a dry eye in the hall. Bet you’ve heard that phrase before, but how often do you really see a room full of guests sniveling collectively to keep composure at a seemingly routine family event?
Eleven years of waiting, hoping, praying for a child came to an apex at a recent brit milah in an obscure Jerusalem neighborhood synagogue.

Ir Ganim- Kiryat Menachem is best known for the culture clash between the old-timers and the new-comers. The older residents are comprised of Jewish families from Arab countries which had been forced out after centuries of living in thriving communities. In Israel’s infancy they were settled in quickly-constructed shikun buildings in the 50’s and 60’s and have since been joined by Russian immigrants who came in the big waves of aliya from the former Soviet Union. They have carefully guarded their secular lifestyles. The new faces on the blocks are the young, sincerely observant families lacking the means to choose more established religious neighborhoods.

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Posted by Heddy Abramovitz in Essays
Jerusalem Stone

Jerusalem Stone

God pulsed beneath my fingertips

I loved not His city, but His stones

Cool marble pressed against my forehead

The ancient past rose up to greet me

Silken stones against my cheek

My hands held the memory of a House

Remembered the stories, smelled the smoke,

Heard the baying horn, saw the teeming crowds

I stroked my child’s cheek tonight

He slept beneath my tears. In his skin

I felt the ancient stones once more

Posted by Adina Kopinsky in Poems
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
Home Run

Home Run

Would the rabbis of the ancient world have given their blessing to the twenty-first century Jerusalem Marathon?

It’s a question I ponder each March, on that designated Friday when traffic in the Holy City comes to a grinding halt. Barricades are set up to block cars and buses, and their place is taken by some 25,000 runners (and chilled-out walkers) who make their way along Jerusalem’s cleared roads. It’s a marathon, but it feels like a festival.

When I wrote my first children’s book a couple of years ago, I asked eleven-year-old Gabi, who ran with her sisters, to describe the day. In her words:

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Posted by Eva L. Weiss
Splashing together

Splashing together

Just outside the Old City of Jerusalem is the delightful Teddy Park.

This free attraction comes to life in the summer on a regular schedule that has children of all ages – and some adults too – ready and waiting for it to start each time. What struck me was how it was a total mix of Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, all enjoying the fountains together. No one cared who was who, everyone was just having fun, cooling off on a hot summer night in Israel. A pure, happy Israeli moment. So beautiful!

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Posted by Laura Ben-David in Images
Jerusalem, city of contradictions

Jerusalem, city of contradictions

May, 2014, 7:00 AM, Amman airport.
I am returning to Jerusalem from a celebratory conference that began with so much promise. Two Israeli doctors developed a solar battery hearing aid and contributed it to the Jordanians who suffer high incidence of infant deafness, the result of common tribal in-marriage. If treated before age 3, there is hope for normal speech and a normal life. Heretofore, the families of deaf children routinely tossed hearing aids when the battery ran out, sadly long before three years. There are homes for the deaf all over Jordan.

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Posted by Blu Greenberg 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

Families in Jerusalem

It’s family. That’s what it’s all about.

Today, I read the sad news that someone’s child at Tzomet HaGush decided to try to run over someone else’s child and got shot and finally died for his efforts. (Please God, the victim of the attack will recover.) Then I read about someone’s daughters who tried to sneak bomb materiel into Israel from Gaza in medicine containers. One of the sisters was coming to Israel for cancer treatment. (Let the full magnitude of that sink in.)

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Posted by Ruti Eastman in Essays