Public Transportation

Where we tell it like it is

Where we tell it like it is

I’ve been living in Jerusalem for nearly 9 years now. Ironically, the very thing that drove me nuts about living here is something I’ve come to value and appreciate.

Living here, I am struck by the realness of the way that we deal with life.

I don’t mean to say that life in other places is somehow superficial. I’ve had some incredibly rich life experiences both in NY and Melbourne, and a very brief stint in the Ukraine many years ago.

It’s just that living in Jerusalem feels somehow more real than anywhere else I’ve been. When I say real, I mean in your face. You-can’t-run-away-from-it kind of real.

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Posted by Micki Lavin-Pell in Essays

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

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

Where we help each other do good

On my way to Ulpan (Hebrew class) one morning, just after making aliyah, a young man with multiple piercings wearing all black kept asking me for something I couldn’t understand. An elderly lady wearing a hat and wig came off her seat to hand me a tissue. She wanted me to have the mitzvah of giving it to the young man who was asking for one. Charedi meets Chiloni over a mitzvah!

Posted by Shlomo Fisherowitz in Snippets

The old, the new, and the costly

When you walk down Jaffa street in Jerusalem, the light rail train to your left is reflected in the antique shop to your right.

The antique shops charge too much.

Some would say the light rail train does too.

After all, why pay so much, when it’s barely faster than people riding bikes…

But it’s all oddly fitting. After all, The Old is forever on sale here, and The New isn’t all that fast to come.

Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Images, Snippets

The musical cabbie

“What were you before you were a cab driver?”

He had a Russia accent and anyway, I keep meeting older cab drivers in Jerusalem who were something else before.

“Well, since coming to Israel, I’ve only been a cab driver. But in Russia I was a musician. I play the piano. But I knew before immigrating that I wouldn’t find work in that. It was really sad for me but I knew I needed to come here for my family, my kids…”

“You know, you’re the generation paying for the move but your kids and grandkids get to reap the benefits.” I say this from experience. My parents moved here from Canada when we were kids and my sisters’ kids are Sabras and have none of the issues we have.

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Posted by Deena Levenstein in Snippets

Do and then understand


Another trip to the laundry and the tailor. On the platform I waited for a 9 or a 19 bus. Along came a 28, with a driver whom I knew for a long time, who had once actually retrieved my cell phone from his bus’s floor and called the synagogue to tell me when he could return it to me on his next trip. I decided the chance to say hello and show my friendship was well worth the detour. I could pick up the 9, but not the 19, at one of the Eshkol Blvd or Bar Illan stops. On the 28, realized I could use the time between buses to use a bank cash machine and so I did. When I got to the laundry I was glad I had done so. I started out with more than enough money for my shirts, but I had forgotten that there was a jacket repair job waiting for me. Only because I got the additional money from the bank’s machine was I able to avoid asking for credit.

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Posted by Dave Klepper in Snippets
The bond of grief

The bond of grief

“And THEN Miri said that I can borrow her dress for the party, but then my dad saw it and – ”

The speaker, a loud teenager in a bright pink tank top, stopped talking. I wasn’t the only passenger on the bus to sigh in relief.

The Dress Dilemma Monologue, as I dubbed it to myself fifteen minutes earlier, had went on and on and on and on through the entire ride. Everyone within hearing already knew all there was to know about the loud girl’s date (that guy she had a crush on since tenth grade. Though apparently “he looks​ so much hotter now, and do you think he’s working out because he wants to be a combatant in the army?”), her budget (who knew that babysitting goes through slow times?), and the party she was going to.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Essays

Do you want this seat?

Leaving the Shuk one day and carrying heavy sacks, an Arab man wearing a kefiyah, asked me, a kippah wearer, if I wanted his seat.

Posted by Shlomo Fisherowitz in Snippets