ON THE BUS FROM JAFFA TO TEL AVIV

After a relatively quiet day yesterday, I went to Jaffa this morning to the fleamarket, in search of old cameras. My favorite #10 bus runs every 15 minutes from Ben Yehuda to the Clock tower, at the foot of the old city. War or peace, we need our daily bread and the wherewithal to provide for our families. Who can sit home all day waiting for the sirens to go off, running for shelter and watching television for the latest reports on casualties?¬†Naturally, the shuk in Jaffa was very slow with mostly dealers looking for ‘siftach’, the first sale of the day. I bought something I didn’t really need, just to feed back. It always brings me good luck.

On my way back to Tel Aviv, as the bus turned off the highway onto Shenkar street behind the Dan Panorama hotel, the siren went off again and the bus came to a stop and opened the doors. Half the bus ran off to find shelter and the other half just sat there waiting for that minute and a half after the siren ends, and those horrendous booms that follow. Four explosions occurred in quick succession, pushing down directly overhead in a wave of immense air pressure. The bus trembled and the windows shook! Those of us who remained onboard looked at each other as though we were all members of the same family, the young girl with her cellphone, the soldier, the old man sitting opposite and the women from Russia, Shanghai and Philippines. Plumes of white smoke from the Iron Dome filled the empty sky as the others returned, and we continued on our way home. Or wherever…

We will probably never see each other again but for those moments we shared together. They will always be a reminder of worse times past than better times to come. ¬†Except for the bus driver, who told me in retrospect that he would have preferred not to stop at all because in his opinion, it was harder to hit a moving object. Tomorrow, or whenever I see him again on my way to Jaffa, we will be the best of friends without ever knowing each other’s name.

24.07.2014

About the Author
Born April 15, 1941 in Manhattan, of Jewish immigrants from Poland and Galicia, Elazar spans three literary generations from the streets of New York to Tel Aviv. His poems and stories have appeared in numerous books, literary magazines, newspapers and anthologies throughout the world. Since first publishing in 1964, he has had 17 books published, including The Importance of Swimming, Television Analogs, Love Cycles, A Jew in the House of Harvard, Poet's Guide to the Holy Land, The World According to Animals and What Walks. A Jew in the House of Harvard was awarded first prize by the Israel Federation of Writers for the year 1987. Translated into 8 languages, including Hebrew, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Turkish and Hungarian, Elazar's readings and seminars include such venues as, The New School for Social Research, The Whitney Museum School of American Art, WBAI Radio, WNET TV/Channel 13, CBS TV/Video at The School of Visual Arts, and the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. During the Scud War in Israel, continuing a career begun in the U.S., Elazar wrote a weekly column for The Jerusalem Post and is now contributing editor of LeConte Publications, in Rome.
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