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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
Of cats and ghosts

Of cats and ghosts

It started with a cat.

One moment, it was a nice cat: It jumped onto my lap, curled up, and purred.

A moment later, it was no longer a nice cat: It sunk its claws into my hand, bit me, and jumped off.

Four phone calls and one rabies scare later, I learned that if you ever get scratched by a stray cat in Jerusalem, you’re supposed to visit Jerusalem’s Regional Health Bureau on Jaffa street. Given the local cat population in Jerusalem, getting scratched isn’t all that unlikely. In fact, you might end up there too.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Essays
Grandpa’s Jerusalem

Grandpa’s Jerusalem

I have vivid memories from when I was a small child of my grandparents returning from their annual trip to Israel. It was always very exciting for me to hear them talk about the holy land they loved so much. I thought of it as a magical wonderland with camels and silver and lots and lots of siddurs (prayer books) and Tehillim (psalms) books because those were gifts they’d bring back for us. I felt proud when I learned that my grandfather was born in our ancient homeland. I thought him a hero for coming to the States when he was a teenager to make money to help support his family back home.

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Posted by Aliza Lipkin in Essays
The special house

The special house

Nowadays, not a week goes by when we don’t have some elder person ask us if we really live in our house. The conversation usually goes a little something like this: a curious old lady will check us out while we attempt to haul our stroller up the five steps leading to our front yard. “Slicha. Do you live here now?” My husband and I look at each other, knowing what is coming next. “Ken, yes.” “ Zeh Bayit Meyuchad zeh. Im hamon Historia. Tishmeru Alav. This is a very special house, with lots of history. Protect it.”

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Posted by Sarah Lavin Ableman in Essays
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