Monday, June 06, 2005

Yerushalayim to me

I don't have any deep thoughts today about the significance of Yom Yerushalayim. I guess because I was born after the Six Day War, so I never viewed Israel without all of Yerushalayim.

Outside of a six week period back in the summer of 1991, I've never lived in Yerushalayim. My yeshiva is not in the city, which was unusual back then, and even more unusual today. And since we made aliya we haven't lived in Yerushalayim either.

But I still feel very connected with the city. I've always visited it often. And for the past 5 years I've worked in the city as well.

One of my favorite things about Yerushalayim is how wonderful it is to walk through it. There are great cities in the world where you can't easily walk from one part to another. But Jerusalem, like San Francisco (where I also used to walk a lot) isn't like that. You can really walk from North to South, East to West in one day. And the differences between the neighborhoods are amazing. Often I get a ride to the center of town in the morning, and walk to my office in the eastern part of the city. I walk from the active (well, not so active at 7:30 AM) city center, through the Russian Compound, by the (former?) Ethiopian consulate, through the charedi neighborhoods into the Arab neighborhood of my work. I feel like my passport should be stamped several times a day! And when I really want to treat myself, I take a long walk - let's say from the city center to Talpiot. So many hidden corners, so much to discover.

The other great thing about Yerushalayim for me is how much things are always changing, always building. I mean my first visit to Israel was only in 1988, but I'm already nostalgic for places I saw then, like the old bus station, that no longer exist! The cranes are always moving, the roads are constantly being torn up, new buildings seem to pop up like mushrooms after a rain. Some people here have become frustrated with all the work being done on the new light rail line, but I'm personally very impressed. Despite the economic condition of the country in the past few years, the work didn't stop. It shows a degree of vision not often found in this country. And I'm sure that in a few more years when it's all done, we won't be able to believe we ever lived with out it.

Kind of like how I feel now about the reunification of the city.

Who knows what we'll feel like about that next?