Sarah Tuttle-Singer
A Mermaid in Jerusalem

Know hope

I wanted to punch the wall tonight, hard, somewhere between my second and third whiskey neat.

It had been a long day.

I went to the Old City, my favorite place in the whole entire world. It’s always changing, never the same, just as we are never the same.  The Old City is an organic, energetic entity,  this place made of stone, it has a heart that’s always beating, beating.

And today, the Old City was sick and nervous.

Too many riots in too many days,  and the mood was terse. At noon, the church bells rang, but the clatter and the clang of the shopkeepers as they shut their doors rang louder than the pealing bells.

jlem 2

It hurt my ears.

My heart stuttered with the tempo all around me.

It’s never been like this, where I’ve been afraid here in the center of the Old City, in the center of my heart.  A man walked by and hissed.

“Keep a low center of gravity,” my father tells me often — especially now that I’m living in Israel. “Think once, is it safe. Think twice, is it safe.  Think a third time, is it safe.”

Is it safe here today?



Not even close.

So I turned around and left.

Three days ago, the mood was playful, even peaceful.  In these same shadows, and these same spaces where the light shines through. But Jerusalem was sick today.

And so am I.

I’m angry. I’m tired. And the whiskey hits just below the heart, but it doesn’t warm me.

The extremism on all sides is choking us. For political reasons, for personal reasons, there’s this anger that I can’t fight – it seeps into me, and I just want to throw something and cry. And punch a wall.

This country — my country — is hurting.  And the heart of this place is literally breaking.

Truth to power time, some of the sickness is our responsibility.

(Some of it isn’t.)

And I’m sitting here, sick and sad right along with the city that holds my heart in it’s heart.

But now what?

Do I leave?

Do I say “fuck it, what’s the point? Yalla, let’s move where my biggest problem is a bad song on the radio or not enough foam on my latte?”



Not even close.

Because even after a very long day — living here means something. Hell, our national narrative means that simply living in the state of Israel and making it through any given day is meaningful.

And while I breath deeply, I remember that our national anthem is literally called “HaTikvah” — “The Hope.” — and that sums it up: I’m going to hold on to that tight – the way I held my kids when we took cover in a bomb shelter this past summer. Hell no,  I won’t let go.  Because, yes, even at the end of a very long day,  I am still hopeful we can heal this place

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel. She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems, and she now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors, talks to strangers, and writes stories about people — especially taxi drivers. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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