Life in Jerusalem Today

Today, I went shopping. On the way out, I told my husband I loved him, because what if God forbid we got stabbed, and I hadn’t told him?

As we walked, my husband mused whether it wasn’t better to wear knapsacks, to protect against stabbers from behind. After all, there had been a multitude of stabbings of Jews in the past few days, and as we were walking, we found out about a new stabbing attack about a forty-five minute walk from our destination.

We discussed the panic of people carrying pepper spray, and agreed that if the terrorists cause us to walk around constantly suspicious and panicking, then we are in some sense granting them a victory.

But that didn’t prevent me from keeping a lookout for suspicious activities from the corner of my eyes.

I passed the Palestinian man who cleans our street, and we traded pleasantries in English, the least political language we had in common. I wanted to say, “I’m sorry”, but what was I apologizing for, exactly? For the recent attack in Dimona, where a Jew, out for vengeance for the recent terror attacks against Jews, stabbed four Arabs, or for the entire political situation? Would it be degrading or heartening to him if I told him that I wanted our peoples to live in peace?

My walk was interspersed with intermittent cell-phone checks, making sure that there hadn’t been a new attack, and every time there was a siren, I wondered if someone else had been stabbed or had stones thrown at them. I arrived home feeling grateful to God that I made it home safely.

Today was marvelous.

The sun was shining for most of the time I was out, and it was not too hot and not too cold. I bumped into a neighbor on the way out. It’s nice to live in a place where people say hi to you, and you can exchange Sukkot experiences while taking out the garbage.

I had a pleasant conversation with the man who cleans our streets; he complimented the matching hats that my husband and I were wearing.

We walked down Emek Refaim, popping into the different bakeries that line the sidewalk, inhaling the scent of croissants and cupcakes, and we bumped into a friend in front of the supermarket.

We walked up a beautiful set of train tracks that has been converted to a public garden, where we exchanged some books at the free outdoor public library, and smelled the lavender.

Then, we went to the old train station, now First Station, and saw an exhibit of Jewish women artists painting modern interpretations of biblical scenes. I was a bit disappointed that I missed the free outdoor book-folding event that had been scheduled for earlier in the day, but you can’t always have everything.

I arrived home feeling grateful to God that I live in such a beautiful city.

About the Author
Shayna Abramson, a part-Brazilian native Manhattanite, studied History and Jewish Studies at Johns Hopkins University before moving to Jerusalem. She has also spent some time studying Torah at the Drisha Institute in Manhattan, and has a passion for soccer and poetry. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Political Science from Hebrew University, and is a rabbinic fellow at Beit Midrash Har'el.