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
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

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!”

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

Where we mingle

Church bells ringing in Jerusalem for Holy Thursday, the amplified call to prayer emanating from the Al Aqsa on the Temple Mount, and thousands of Israelis (yes, I saw Jewish and Arab Israelis in the parks enjoying the Pesach break) enjoying the outdoors for Chol Hamoed.

This is Israel.

Posted by Irene Rabinowitz in Snippets

Replacing hate with love

“Arabs go home! We want revenge!”

I was walking to the supermarket this morning when I saw this:

It really bothered me, and so I posted about it in social media. “Nothing like some racism to ruin your gorgeous chol hamoed morning. I guess I know what my family is doing this morning. Anyone know how to get spray paint off walls?”

Within an hour the Iriyah (municipality) came and cleaned it up, the incident was reported in the news, and concerned Jerusalemites spread the word through Facebook and Twitter.

And we? We spent our morning in the park with our friend and neighbor Ilana Nelson, painting new signs to replace the ugly words…

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Posted by Naava Shafner in Snippets
Preparing for Passover in Jerusalem’s streets

Preparing for Passover in Jerusalem’s streets

In Jerusalem, Passover preparations take place in the streets. People gather to kasher their dishes with fire and boiling water.

And children help their parents burn chametz.

Posted by Judy Lash Balint in Images
Next year in renovated Jerusalem

Next year in renovated Jerusalem

“Moshiach,” declared the little sticker on the dirty old wall, “is just one good deed away!”

A small picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe waved at me from the middle of the sentence, framed by random pipes and rusty odds and ends. The door to his left was torn out of the wall, as was the gate to his right. Behind the missing doors, within the gaping spaces, construction workers were chatting with each other, sipping coffee.

When they finished, they left their dirty cups on a lose stone below the sticker.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Essays
A variety of blacks and whites

A variety of blacks and whites

A week before Pesach I stopped in the local dry cleaner to drop off my husband’s white shirts for the holiday, only to find the entire ceiling of the cleaners covered from wall-to-wall with hanging suits, beckeshes (Hasidic robes) with varying prints, ties and other Chag accouterments, fresh and waiting to be picked up.

Posted by Ariella Tenenbaum in Videos