Wishes For Quiet Days
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A Message from Israel
Dear Cleveland Community,
I’m back in Israel from my year as a Shlicha in Cleveland, and it feels natural to share with you some thoughts and feelings about the current situation.
I live in Jerusalem, in a neighborhood that is a five minute walk from the old city and from city center – on regular days – a great, attractive location! On these days…let’s say my mom rethinks the “great location” of my apartment.
As most of you know, the past weeks have been hard here. I’m saying weeks, and I actually have no memory of when it all started. It could be days, it could be months…the sense of time totally distorts, as if all of a sudden you wake up to a new reality; a reality that hearing sirens 15 minutes in a row under your house is regular and daily. One of constantly looking behind your back while walking on the streets is the new habit without even thinking. One that all of a sudden, everyone looks suspicious, that you think twice to take a bus and if to wait in a bus station. A reality that you wait until a car stops completely before crossing a road, to make sure that it really is going to stop.
Life continues – students go to school, people go to work, go out at night, but with an additional thought. Yesterday was my first day going to University again. I took the bus and not my bike, because I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to ride to Mt. Scopus, through east Jerusalem neighborhoods alone on my bike. But is the bus a better option? I got to the bus station and in this new reality, there are soldiers placed to guard main bus stations. There are cubes of concrete to block waiting areas from being run over by cars.
Truthfully, these are all the outside layer of what’s going on here. The hardest things to deal with for me, is what’s going on inside. Inside my thoughts, inside other people’s thoughts…
To wake up to this new reality means waking up to a world of violence, of fear, of feeling insecure. These new levels of suspiciousness create tension, frustration that overflows, mistakes, panic reactions and intolerance from all directions.
I am not willing to accept that violence is the new way. That someone can wake up and think that violence is a solution. That it is worth more than human life – from both sides of the conflict. That humanity as a value is not the first in the hierarchy of life.
I hope that we won’t have to continue to guard ourselves with concrete blocks, with soldiers in the entrance to every place… I want to believe that there is a different way.
Knowing that even from overseas, you are caring for us and helping us is so important to us here. Thank you.
With wishes for quiet days,