Thursday, September 28, 2006

"more precious than rubies"

it's time for me to post pictures of the most precious baby...
my beautiful, darling niece, Sabrina!
below she is enjoying the company of her wonderful savta and saba.

Monday, September 11, 2006

a pastiche of jerusalem

"there's no diversity in jerusalem." a good friend of mine uttered these words to explain why she misses new york city so deeply. she shared these sentiments at a passover meal my parents so graciously hosted when they visited earlier this year. at the time i found this comment somewhat bewildering and i was reminded of it again this past friday night.

as i left my sister's apt in old katamon, a smile crept on my face. the night was simply divine. the breeze was perfect. the moon was full, radiant and glorious. and i was sated from a delicious shabbat meal. when i walk through the streets of jerusalem, i am startled anew each time i look up and examine the striking architecture, the old arab homes, the hodge-podge of apartment buildings, the newly renovated, modern homes, the shikkunim (projects), and the occasional consulate. i am simply taken with the beauty and unique nature of jerusalem.

i must confess, that i often strain my neck ever so slightly to peer into the windows of these varied homes and catch a glimpse of the interior and the life inside.

on this particular friday night, i could not help but shift my gaze from left to right as i strolled down my sister's street. the first house i passed revealed three children around a shabbat table playing cards as they wiped away the crumbs from dessert. as i continued down the street my attention was drawn to an open door of the second story of a two-story house, from which i could hear the sounds of a yeminite song being sung. below, the first-floor door was open exposing a family that looked like they had recently arrived from the former soviet union. further on, i noticed a group of young secular israelis, probably around my age, hanging out on a large balcony, drinking beer and discussing the latest political crisis. as i turned the corner, making my way from old katamon to the german colony, i smiled at an elderly couple, who looked as if they had stories to share from pre-State israel.

i ambled down the main street, connecting the two neighborhoods, and i felt serene. i felt lucky to be part of the melange that is my neighborhood. somehow, without knowing personally any of the neighbors i passed, there was something that united us. the songs, the discussions, the games, the food looked and sounded foreign to me and yet i felt close to the people singing, discussing, eating, and playing. i couldn't help but think of my friend's comment and how wrong she is. the difference between new york and jerusalem is not diversity. it is our connection to the diversity that surrounds us.

tomorrow night i will dance at that same friend's wedding as she, a modern orthodox girl from new york, marries her lubavitch fiancee from venezuela.