Israel is doing so well against COVID-19. That doesn’t mean, no mistakes are made. One mistake is to have stores that sell food and supermarkets open while the open-air markets are closed. Why, for Heaven’s sake?
Two weeks before Pesach, I went to the Machaneh Yehudah Shuk in Jerusalem to stock up on veggies for the holiday. I would not go to a super. Their prices are horrendous. (First, they sold under the market value and when most small groceries were put out of business, they raised the prices. The same as Amazon does. And make you buy in bulk. And then we complain that so much produce is thrown out because we never get to eat it.) And it’s a closed building. During a pandemic? Not me. The market!
This time as always, the foods were fresh, colorful, and fragrant. There were not so many costumers. But what was really unusual were the faces of the shop keepers. They looked depressed. Not sad — lifeless. Even no friendly word, joke, thank you, or a string of blessings (and I’m good at them) could revive them. It was shocking, saddening.
In the Shuk, you always find plenty and the workers are very honest. You don’t need to count your change and if you’re stuck with money, they say: pay next time. (One must be honest to trust others.) There, Jews and Arabs work together without one incident ever. Like in the hospitals and health funds in Israel, there is peace that needs no process.
Now, most stores are open but the market not? Insanity. The healthiest place to go.
I’m sitting still in my apartment. I first want to see if there will be a second wave and not be killed by it. But once I’ll leave my apartment, I will first head to the Shuk. It’s the nicest, most personal, most diverse, most lively, and least expensive place to buy all the good stuff and there are always bargains.
I’m very pained to read that one of the long-term stall owners has ended his life a week and a half ago. Know that despair — no matter how real — is always temporary! It will get better! Just wait! I somehow hope it’s not one of the people I always buy from but after the fact, what can hope do?
The Mayor of Jerusalem wants the Shuk open. I want the Shuk open. There is no reason the Shuk is closed. It should have stayed open all the time.
Long overdue: open the Shuk!