Jewsalem, I love you but you’re bringing me down

Bak’a (Jerusalem) doesn’t remind me of any suburb in Melbourne, so I’m not going to draw a comparison like I always do (much to your annoyance I’m sure). The locals here are smiley and put up with my Engbrew more so than other places I’ve been to in Israel. They’re more chummy and relaxed than than the prickly pears in the city’s centre and friendlier than the people in the old city (and less death-starey 🙂

While coming to Israel has made me nostalgic for some of parts of my Jewish upbringing (food and….well that’s mainly it), yesterday I was reminded of why when I was a teenager all I wanted to do was get out of that community, become an atheist and enjoy Judaism from a rather generous step back.I was waiting for the Egged (that’s eggEd, not eggd) bus to the Dead Sea, when a girl begins speaking to me in Hebrew. Long story short, her boyfriend and her went to my old school and her mum taught me hebrew in Grade 6. Judging by my hebrew maybe her mum didn’t do a very good job. While I was glad to have some company for the day and some other bodies to float in the Dead Sea with, they reminded me of the type of people I was running away from when I moved north side in Melbourne. In that community, every second person does an Arts/ Law degree, ends up a lawyer, goes to Israel for a year, comes back, gets married ASAP, kids, mortgage, etc by 32 and at this point I’d really rather just kill myself. Having said that, good for them if this is what makes them happy, but it’s not for me. And having spent the day with these two where they spent half the time complaining about things like the heat and the overstuffed bus (you’re in the Middle East for fucks sake!) I’m so glad I moved on and found a new lovely group of friends in the less conservative suburbs of Melbourne. The day ended with “her boyfriend” pointing out to to the bus driver that he was a lawyer, and he didn’t believe it was legal to hold this many passengers. Oy vey. Really, really???!!!!!!

But the Dead Sea itself? Yeah, it was a fun day trip. I wasn’t completely convinced I’d float after becoming accustomed to the Israeli food servings, but sure enough I did. Now it’s Shabbas time and I’m playing Shabbas wifey since I have a place to stay and apparently we have a guest tonight. I think doing the Shabbas shopping on Fridays in Jerusalem with the shouting and the pushing and the arm waving would drive me meshugener. But of course there is a nice sense of the end of the week, mingling, relaxation (afterward) and wishing people a Shabbat Shalom.

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