Machane Yehuda. The Shuk. Jerusalem’s outdoor market. Call it what you want, but it may very well be my favorite place in Yerushalayim. Since my first trip 5 1/2 months ago with a private tour given to me by my nephew, Chaim, I have been back weekly, sometimes, two or three times a week. He introduced me to all his favorite shops- spices, fruits and vegetables, bread, fish, butcher, and on and on. Some of those stores became my favorites too, but I have come to discover my way around really well. I have become a regular and it’s always so much fun to see a smile on the store owners’ face, because I am back to shop!
I have never taken more buses as I have in the last 5 months since moving to Israel. Living in Jerusalem, in a city, without a car, it’s really the first time that I’ve needed to count on public transportation. Luckily, the buses are punctual and efficient. And I’m happy to say that I’ve encountered many pleasant and helpful bus drivers. There have been some funny and interesting ones too. So, I thought I’d list the top ten personality types I’ve met up until this point.
Walking alone. Walking though Yerushalayim alone. I felt alone. I felt scared. I didn’t want to feel scared. I should not have felt scared. But scared I felt. Squeezing, clenching my pepper spray bottle hidden inside my coat pocket. I never owned mace until a couple of months ago. But I own it now. I own it so I won’t feel so scared.
I was walking down Rechov Yaffo toward the Old City walls. I was walking towards the Kotel to daven. I was walking with a purpose. I needed to talk to Hashem. Really talk. When someone in your family needs Tefillot, you need to talk to Hashem. And if I am lucky enough to live in Yerushalayim, then this conversation would happen at the Kotel. Up close and personal.
Since moving to Israel, we’ve had many opportunities to host students studying here from abroad for their gap year. They’re away from their families, and we’re happy to make them feel at home. Some of these high school graduates have acclimated to their new environment, while others are very homesick. Can’t blame them. For us, each time it is definitely a noteworthy experience. My kids love having new people to give them attention- play games, tell stories, and just talk with them. And my husband and I love having “time off” while the kids are entertained by others. So it’s a win-win situation for hosts and guests!
What could have prompted a family that lived in New Jersey all their lives to pick up and move 6,000 miles away? A family that was so happy living in Bergenfield, NJ with friends, family, neighbors, jobs, schools, a sense of community. A family that was by all definition HAPPY? What then prompted the change?…Continue Reading