Tanya Hajek
Host of Niagara to Israel with Love Celebrations

“The Shuk” shook any doubt off

A Love Story daydreamed between the stalls of Jerusalem market

Jerusalem Mahane Yehuda Market, also known as “The Shuk”, April 2018

The colours, the aromas, the sounds, the atmosphere, the noise, the breeze, the thickness of the air filled with spices & music, the buzz… Hebrew language of many voices mixed with Arabic, Russian, English, Chinese, French, Serbian, Slovak, Czech, Polish, German… The world packed in the burlap sacks overflowing with grains. The market of greetings, cultures, nations. Every seed – one precious life. History of humanity displayed through a vast riches of Jerusalem market stalls. The microcosm mirrored in the centre of a sparkly grain.

You stop. And listen…

The world packed in the sacks overflowing with grains…
The shouts, discussion, bargaining clashing with arguing, the laughter; aggressive sellers right into your face, fighting for your attention. The tension, the expectation; the movement, sneaky whispers… Fragments of many pictures captured by a single time frame; the time trapped in a moment. The power of a glimpse. Lone island in the ocean of memories. The life I wanted to breathe in and never forget… the taste I’ve tried to keep from melting away on my tongue – the sweetness of Jerusalem market 
The taste I’ve tried to keep from melting away on my tongue…

Inspiration explodes like a ripe pomegranate! Thoughts are rolling all over the place along with its refreshing seeds…

Doorkeepers of the wildest vivid dreams…
I’m lost in the land of fabric. Hanging over from the clouds are the most colourful draperies I have ever seen. Like the doorkeepers of the wildest vivid dreams. You can almost tell there are some invisible stairs leading to Heaven, hiding behind these dangling silhouettes… Their richness is simply out of this world. The colours, the shapes and everything in between. Who could even think of such designs? They are dancing in the midair catching the wind. Riding the curvy waves. They have their own rhythm to it. 
Doorkeepers of the wildest vivid dreams – that’s exactly what they are… you find yourself whispering to your own ear… You are almost sure this silly idea is quite realistic, but suddenly, the enchanting aroma of a freshly ground coffee wakes you up from this daydreaming. 
The life I wanted to breathe in and never forget…

Symphony of tastes, mosaic of sounds, a festival for your senses. Unfinished story… A poem that never ends. Each dawn rushing into the early morning with countless busy sellers adds a new chapter. Finds a new tune. Picks up a new crisp, as a fresh bread crunching under your teeth.

Grape is bursting with a juicy joy at a single bite. So you smile. The flash of a mounting noon’s Sun pierces through the roof cracks. It finds a reflection in your winking eye. You blink. Blinded for a second, you realize that the vendor at your side blinks back at you. With a huge smile. Golden teeth greeting you from the left corner of his wide-open mouth: “The more you buy, the more we love you!” – he chants his seller’s love story. Enthusiastic and unashamed. 
How cheap is that, you think to yourself. Or is it? Bold, for sure. And daring. Got to love this guy. Got to move forward as well.  
The colours, the aromas, the sounds, the atmosphere, the noise, the breeze, the thickness of the air filled with spices & music, the buzz…

Gazillion eyes staring at you. It’s like they are scanning your soul. Almost intimidating. How many eye contacts can you make in a single second? What a silly thing to consider, Tanya? You laugh at the thought. Then you push your way through crowds, drawn by the aroma of freshly picked strawberries. Picked from the soil that was barren for Centuries. From a Jewish soil. And it’s only April. 

The sweetness is overwhelming
The Land and the people are stealing my heart…

Your bones still remember that Canadian mid spring ice storm, you flew from just 12 days ago. Never did 12 days felt like 12 years of a wild adventure. Your bones are melting now like those freshly picked strawberries in your mouth. The Land and the people. They are stealing your heart. Forever. You know that. But you don’t even try to stop the theft. You try to hide this new found reality from your own heart. The war lost. Even before the battle began. You enjoy the moment of a quiet surrender. You know you are being sold out in this Shuk. Sold out for good. But you don’t care. It tastes sooo… delicious. Unique. 

Priceless experience.

A tsunami of feelings overtaking the wave of memories… Jerusalem Shuk shook any doubt off – I am in love.
About the Author
Tanya Hajek is a writer, Real Estate Investor, Evangelical Zionist, Jewish-Christian Communities bridge builder. She organized and hosted the most extravagant celebration of Israel’s 70th in Canada (City/Government officials, Israeli Consul General & Economic Attaché present) with glorious 7-min fireworks for Israel’s 7 decades above Niagara Falls and illuminated the Falls in honour of Israel’s national flag for the 1st time in history. Born only 30 miles from historic Pranjani Airport where brave Serbian villagers rescued over 500 US Airmen during WWII; continuously living on borders (Serbian-Croatian; Slovak-Austrian and US-CAN), holding triple citizenship & speaking 4 languages, being a natural bridge-builder is who she is. As a grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, passion to see the nations of the world coming to the realization of the importance of favouring Zion is in her DNA. Tanya Hajek answers the call of raising up 21st Century Esther’s Army.
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