web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



O’ Jerusalem

Medwed-072012-Bus

From my 6th row aisle seat, I observed the motley assemblage ascending the Egged bus I was riding in Jerusalem. Nearly all shared one common characteristic; they were tuned in and tuned out – tuned into themselves and tuned out to their fellow passengers. Some qualified for chiropractic “before” pictures with necks inelegantly cocked supporting cell phones, while others visually displayed virtual euphoria plugged into MP3s. What a pity. Victims of technology, they will never taste the adventure and reality of the Jerusalem that greeted me some 30 years before.

The primary mode of transportation for the majority of Jerusalemites for decades has been an Egged bus. Call it mazal, call it destiny; Jerusalem is a city that always gives more than you bargain for, even regarding something as mundane as a bus ride. Depending on your mazal, you might have been happened upon by an elderly Sepharadi, shuffling down the aisle schlepping his bags and squishing himself into you as if you were part family, part favorite recliner. No sooner had he landed in his seat, when he turned to you and asked how many children you had; “How many?” not “If?” Escorted by the aroma of Machaneh Yehuda wafting from the bags he piled half in the aisle, half in his lap and somehow, half on you, he volunteered stories of his native Baghdad, oblivious to the fact that you never requested. Offense to your American etiquette aside, no sooner had he launched into his verbal missive than he captivated your imagination with a first-hand account of a life more charming than Lawrence of Arabia; a life so distant, so different from your own, so fascinating.

At times, “mazal” might place you next to an elderly payos-framed chassid attired in typical chassidic garb, who reminisced about the long destroyed European chassidic court he visited in his youth – having deemed destiny wanted you to know while anointing him as narrator. Graphically breathing life into vague memories, he artistically resuscitated history into current events; unearthing the life buried in those all too familiar photos of destruction every Jew knows only too well. Swept up in a surreal reality, you traveled with him, at one moment swaying next to him at the Rebbe’s tisch and moments later, hovering over him like an accompanying angel as he fled the destruction of his town and the tragic end of his family. Were you listening for yourself or for him? You never really knew.

Mazal might find you seatmates with an old Jerusalemite offering a personal account of stories you read decades before in Yerushalayim Shel Maala. Stories you hitherto suspected might be liberally sprinkled with poetic license swiftly became vividly real and authentic. The cobblestone streets of Me’ah She’arim visited umpteen times as archaic tourist sites morphed into someone’s home; the place where Jews lived great in spirit in spite of hardships unfathomable to you, the American.

And, as each passing traveler trudged off into his or her own world, never did they leave without gruffly blessing you with nachas from your children and that they be healthy and good Jews…

How many exotic journeys did I take, how much of the world did I witness in just a few stops on a bus? One of the things I loved most about exploring Jerusalem was never knowing in advance what awaited me. In Jerusalem, even a “mundane” bus ride boasts magical and majestic.

How much did I appreciate entering and experiencing the lives of Jews from throughout the world just because my ears were open and strangers – if they could be called that – filled them with their stories.

Today, the ears are closed. Nobody listens. Nobody communicates with live people. Nobody acknowledges the person next to him or her. People have become islands; traveling in public yet condemning themselves to solitary confinement. The Jerusalem that welcomed me was a city that understood the technology of people. Sadly, today I find people of technology. I lament the lost joy and intrigue – the journey into the unknown – that I experienced as a Wandering Jew, who, throughout all his wanderings, became enriched by the flavor of ethnic “baggage” each Jew brought here and unselfishly dropped in my lap. What an unimaginable wealth of gems are to be found upon the streets of Jerusalem, thanks to the people who love this Holy City, hold Jerusalem dear, share their stories and welcome strangers into their lives…

I pity contemporary youth, whose heads bop to and fro, wired to deaden their sensitivities, oblivious to the riches brushing their shoulders – who will never savor the eclectic ingathering of Jews Jerusalem boasts… a most illuminating facet of the Heavenly City and our soon to come redemption.

O’ Jerusalem, if I forget thee.

About the Author: Eliezer Medwed, author of "Together We Are One – Making Marriage Work" and the just completed "The Art of Jewish Marital Intimacy" is a marital and family educator and counselor, an alcohol, drug and addiction counselor, author, lecturer and columnist. He is an ordained rabbi and graduated from the University of Michigan. Visit his website: www.Great-Marriages.net


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “O’ Jerusalem”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Wounded Golani commander returns to his troops on July 22, 2014.
Golani Commander Proves Why the Unit is Known for Bravery
Latest Sections Stories
book-Family-Frayda

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

book-I-Kings

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

book-Unify-A-Nation

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

Schonfeld-logo1

The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”

Certainly today’s communication via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and the like, including the ubiquitous Whatsapp, has reduced the need to talk with people and communicate at length.

These two special women utilized their incredibly painful experience as an opportunity to assist others.

Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.

Sleepily, I watched him kissing Mai’s chubby thighs.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

My teachers like me and they tell my parents that I am a great girl with good middos.

The chicken and waffle nuggets were fabulous and were like chicken in a dessert form.

“Have you forgotten your dreams?” The Hope Merchant asks a defeated and hopeless Lily when she “happens” upon his shop.

The universe was created by God out of nothing; it has not always existed.

He combined intellectual achievement with deep spirituality and religious devotion.

More Articles from Eliezer Medwed
super-teacher-t

Our daughter would tell us glowing stories about how Mrs. Mike made the pesukim come alive, tricks she taught them to memorize and recall the mitzvot, how each mitzvah perfectly fit women…

Marriage-Relationship-logo

Sometimes you just have to wonder, “What were they thinking?” My wife and I speak on marriage-related topics to variant crowds. We know what we’re going to say, but we have no idea what the audience may offer. So, when we speak publicly, before we open the floor to comments or questions (which we welcome), we always preface with a cautionary word not to make any personal or disparaging remarks about one’s spouse.

From my 6th row aisle seat, I observed the motley assemblage ascending the Egged bus I was riding in Jerusalem. Nearly all shared one common characteristic; they were tuned in and tuned out – tuned into themselves and tuned out to their fellow passengers. Some qualified for chiropractic “before” pictures with necks inelegantly cocked supporting cell phones, while others visually displayed virtual euphoria plugged into MP3s. What a pity. Victims of technology, they will never taste the adventure and reality of the Jerusalem that greeted me some 30 years before.

Statistically, about half of all couples marrying this year will see their marriage end in divorce. For couples undergoing marriage therapy, surprisingly or perhaps not surprisingly, the rates of divorce are no different about one-half will suffer divorce.[1]

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/feautures-on-jewish-world/o-jerusalem/2012/07/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: