First Day Back in Jerusalem

Everything changes and everything stays the same. My first day in Jerusalem has proved that. The city looks the same, only different. Where there once were holes in the ground, there are now tall buildings. And in some places where there was the beginning of a construction project, it still looks like the beginning of a construction project (Waldorf- Astoria, I’m looking at you). The big change is the light rail. Yafo is just a pedestrian walkway with tracks running down the middle. Empty trains run by every few minutes doing their test runs. I’m wondering if they are testing how the tracks and cars work, or how well Israelis respond to the repeated horns to get out of the way. We shall see.

The Seminar started today as well. It was great to get back together as a group, to hear what everyone has been up to since January, and to start thinking about our topic for the month:עמיות, Jewish Peoplehood.

To welcome us, Lisa played a great song by Arik Einstein, כמה טוב שבאת הביתה, “How Good that You Came Home.” All of us are returning to Israel after having spend a year here together four years ago. For some of us it was our first time back, for others (like me) we had been back. And yet, every time you come it’s like coming home; everything is the same and everything is different.

I’m sitting at Cafe Hillel on Yafo in Jerusalem, at the center of the city. It is utter madness. Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, started at sundown. Today, we celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War. There are about eight bajillion Israeli teens around the city (that’s what I get for coming downtown tonight), but the bustle is electrifying. The energy is keeping me up at this late hour (9:30 pm), fighting through my jetlag that I hope will be gone by tomorrow. A good night’s sleep tonight should do the trick. Our plan tomorrow is to walk and drive around the city to take in a variety of Yom Yerushalayim activities.

For those who are keeping score at home, I have not yet been in Lina for hummus, Istanbuli for shwarma, or Aroma. All need to be done in the very near future. Having said that, I do also love Cafe Hillel.

Finally, but most importantly, I have to wish a Happy Anniversary to Tami. We are celebrating our second wedding anniversary today. Obviously neither one of us wanted to be apart today, but the Seminar’s and her work’s schedules prevented us from being together. We had a great time in San Diego last week celebrating, and got in a quick video chat today before she went to work. It helps, but it isn’t like being together. I love you baby, Happy Anniversary.

Off to bed, hopefully through the night, and another great day tomorrow.

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About Greg Weisman

Rabbinical Student at the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Kol Ami Teaching Assistant at the University of Southern California Husband, son, brother, dog owner, sports fan View all posts by Greg Weisman

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