‘Tour Guide Speech’
I have been holding your hands until now, my little nestlings. It is now time for you to fly into the depths of Jerusalem yourself.
We have learned a lot over this tour. We have learned about the makeup of the streets and how each block has its own name. Studied the makeup of the Jerusalem stone sidewalk, made for you to slip, and the umbrellas which all broke in the rain. We have even seen each person in this group get a free ball from a falafel vendor. All while stopping by the best art vendors in each area. And I have received kickbacks of 30%.
As you travel Jerusalem, remember to stay on the West side.
Why is this our home? You still ask? Because that store over there is kosher. The supermarkets sell kosher. As a Jew, you do not even have to look on packages here, if you do not care. The restaurants are kosher. I am not relegated to eating out in ice cream parlors. One does not have to depend on Shabbat to keep their weight at a religious Jewish level.
We can be people here. Look at these people with Yarmulkes. A head covering is not weird here. They can be Jews here and that is normal. To talk to yourself in the middle of the street is normal. That guy over there, running, is praying. You can travel the highways, and not have to be an undercover Jew, with your baseball hat. You can travel the highways and do what Jews do: slip off the side of the road and pee wherever you want, in view of the passing cars. Sometimes, right behind a bus stop, so the people on the back of the bus can connect with Jewish unity.
We are supposed to be a Light unto the Nations אור לגיום. And that is why it is important to show people what we do, even in our homeland.
Nobody is looking at you like you are crazy, or different. Where else in the world can you be Jewish and not have to feel like a Jew? Where else in the world can you pee on a street, in public view, and not have anybody screaming, ‘You filthy Jew?’
These people passing us right now are new Olim. That is why they have nice clothing. They just came from Chutz LAretz (outside of Israel), and thus were able to purchase clothes at normal cost. These are new Olim, of the new Aliyah, they did not come to dig the land. They pay people to dig for them.
You are going to be in different Neighborhoods:
All these areas have the same city planner, who decided to make the streets in figure eights. The reason for the complicated street patterns and one way streets, which you should be driving down the wrong way, is that when they were built, they did not foresee homes, or people coming to live in them. Thus, you will notice the random house built in the middle of the street. The random names of the same street is because a famous person died fifty years ago.
Look up. The street name just changed. That was Agron, now it is Ramban. That is the same street. It runs straight. A little further down Yitzchak Kariv St. Still same street.
You will see many institutions, but I am not one to drop names. I have no idea who Avi Chai was. He must have been a very important person. Van Leer must have given a lot of money. Yad Ezra, I am sure she was a good person too. Tisch must have also had money. And not one of these people has a street. Thus they had to make an institute for them.
To see homes and streets that have been built to accommodate city planning from the 1800s, see East Jerusalem. The driveway streets are more complicated and change depending on who’s home you are passing. Walleed St., can get mixed up with Sammy Street very easily. This is right next to Rami Blvd., as they are neighbors. Once streets get too squiggly, you know you are in East Jerusalem. It is like the letters: Hebrew parts have curvy streets. Arabic parts have squiggly streets.
You can see Jerusalem Stone Buildings- you see them? OK.
That one is unique. It is Jerusalem Stone. Over there is a Bauhaus Jerusalem Stone. That one is white Jerusalem Stone. That one is brown Jerusalem Stone.
More Jerusalem Stone Buildings.
Do not use this Jerusalem stone building as a reference for where you are.
This is all part of the real Jerusalem. How do I know? Because I am lost and this neighborhood looks exactly like a neighborhood I know.
Other Important Advice, as I leave you:
The real experience is the interaction with the Israelis. They, along with the non-Israeli Arabs, are what gives Israel its character and bad name. Many times it will be somebody who is not an Anglo. Might be a guy from India giving attitude. Just call them all Israeli. It will make your conversation about your issues with you trip in your Home Land more exciting. They might be random annoying people. They might just be people from Canada. Call them Israeli. For the sake of continuing the process of disparaging Israel, as Jews, you must group them all ‘Israeli.’
If you want to speak Hebrew, say ‘Shalom’ to people. Start your conversations in Hebrew. That is the only way you will end up speaking any Hebrew. If you want to not get ripped off because of you accent, don’t say anything. Just look and grunt, and point. It is acceptable in Israel to stair at random people and not say anything.
Meeting Israelis for dates (places): The Old City, center of town, Emek Refaim, anywhere in Rechavia or Gilo, Tel Aviv, a nice coffee shop, Begin Museum, Yad Vashem, bowling, mini golf. I like to go on a walk and hit up a makolet. All depends on your budget. There is a flower garden, if you want to scare her on the first date and go someplace not around people. You can go to Kad VaChomer. But that paint your own pottery is a rip off. The mug that I painted, which they made me pay 85nis for, would probably not even get a buyer in an art fare.
If you do not want to experience the city itself, you can go to the Israel Museum. There, you can experience Egypt.
Always be open for a Shidduch. People like to pry. Let them set you up. You never know what good ideas somebody on line with you at the supermarket might have. Line at Supersol? Chance for a shidduch. ‘You like carrots, that is a kilo. She also buys carrots in kilos. You could have a bunch of carrot kilos.’ You have carrots in common. She might know a girl and set you up with a somebody who likes mayonnaise and craisins. Next thing you know, you have a great carrot salad, and some kids with sight. Even better is getting set up at the cash machine. Hopefully you can get a good look at the finances of a future relative, and make a quick decision as to the possibility of a date, before checking anything up on Facebook.
Aliyah is fun at first, and then it turns into life. So do not commit to Israel. Vacation. There are rich people who will pay for your trip right now. Once you make Aliyah, you have to pay.
Point is, here is a restaurant guide. Let this lead you through the cracks of this beautiful city, with Waze. And do not visit your cousins, or anybody who will ask you why are visiting and haven’t made Aliyah yet. I can not guide you through that discomfort.
I think that is all I have to say. ‘We are moving. We are moving.’
***David Kilimnick may be seen educating you on Jerusalem, every Thursday night @ 8:30pm, and this Sunday- for the Tu BAv Comedy Special, at the Off The Wall Comedy Basement and is now booking shows for his Tour of America, later this year.