Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Stop the Americanization of Jerusalem!


“Progress” demanded that an ugly exorbitantly expensive string bridge be the first thing travelers to Jerusalem get to see. It’s now also dressed up as a year-round Christmas tree, with colored lights that can wave along the strings in senseless sequences. (If it would display pictures or meaningful slogans it would be one thing, but it’s just color for the sake of color. Like a runaway ad. Senseless and tasteless. I’m not stating that projecting pictures of chanukias on the walls of the Old City for a month after Chanuka is any more tasteful.)

The nearby just-opened above-ground part of the new Jerusalem underground train station, of the train that still doesn’t run to and from Tel Aviv and gets stuck several times a week, is also as ugly as can be. It’s mostly glass and air without any details as if it is just an enormously enlarged scale model — which it probably is. If a plane bombed it to smithereens, no one would mourn its fallen beauty.

And now some middle-class snob who regularly writes about design wants the nearby Jerusalem central bus station replaced because it has no charm but is rather degrading and depressing. But this is not a fashion parade! Thank G^d for small favors.

For what do we need all this novel tastelessness in central Jerusalem? More high-rises will be erected close-by to establish Jerusalem as a hub of innovation. And similar enlarged models are erected along the light railway — a monster in itself.

And I’m not even referring to the new overblown ugliness when I reject it. Even if this all were full of beauty, why does Jerusalem need all this emphasis on the exterior when it has such inner small-scale beauty, rich history, monuments and archeology, wildly interesting populations and their passionate interrelationships? Is that what Jerusalem should stand out for, its facades?

One of the best things of making aliyah was to learn to see how relative outer beauty is. Sure, your house should look nice but does the tablecloth really need to match the candles and wallpaper? Is that what we want to work for, emphasize and be remembered for?

And about my headline — I didn’t want to insult all the good simple taste in the US. But the States is also known for pushing this emptiness that is so refreshingly absent in the Holy Land.

If the Jerusalem central bus station is ugly in your eyes, please go back to some wealthy corner of the world where meaninglessness and hollowness are still appreciated and leave us alone. Thank you.

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch Holocaust survivors in The Netherlands (Westerbork), and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo and Rav Zev Leff. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (of young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners, and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Many people can't understand or like him because he has such a wide vision that he never fits any specialist's box. But that exactly what others love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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