Tag Archives: love

Jerusalem of Gold

Golden Jerusalem

revisited

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December Love

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There are still a lot of sweet moments and sights on the streets of Jerusalem, like this couple, waiting for a bus…

Georgia on my mind

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Came across Georgia while visiting Janne. She was sprawled across the sofa, deep in thought… but looked up into my eyes when I looked at her, and there was that click. Who’re you, I asked her… not having seen her before… and she really looked like she belonged. ‘I’m Ilana’s friend’, she said.
Well, you look like you’ve got it made, I said. ‘Shows how much you know’, she said, and looked down at the couch. I waited, sure she was gonna tell me her story… but she was in no hurry. After some long minutes had passed, she added, ‘don’t you see the cut on my lip’.

You know, you meet someone, and there are so many ways to connect. Some folks are most attracted by looks, and others look for a similar background or taste. Some like brains, and others like heart. Sometimes you just feel some connection and don’t know where it’s coming from… Personally, I’ve always been attracted by a thinking individual. But in this case, it was purely physical. She had a beautiful white fur, and a look that went straight through you and bounced off of whatever was behind you. She edged over to me, and layed her head on my knee. It was physical. I rubbed the back of her neck with a thumb and forefinger, and then scratched her head a bit.

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We didn’t get around to talking till I was taking my nap in the late afternoon. She lay across my chest, and we were breathing together in harmony. We’d gotten to know one another a bit, before. She’d rubbed my legs, to let me know she liked me, and I’d petted her a bit.

So what’s your story?, I asked her, as we lay on the sofa, listening to some country and western songs I’d chosen from my MP3, coming out of speakers that sat on the closed sewing machine in the corner. There was that relaxed togetherness that sometimes takes years… and when luck is with you, can be there instantly. She told me she’d been living in a small apartment with a six cats and a couple of monkeys, and a lot of ego… and was beginning to feel so crowded, she didn’t know how long the situation could last. It got to the point where she’d mark her territory for the other cats, and the monkeys would get insulted thinking she was drawing the line for them too. ‘Day after day of bad news’, she said. And the food was nothing to get excited about… And the music took some getting used to, if you know what I mean. And there was the smell of horse…’ she said, leaving letting the comment just sort of ride out there, not going anywhere… You mean, I asked, that there were six cats and a horse in that little apartment? ‘No horse’, she answered, as if she was already thinking of something else… it was very comfortable on the couch… I was petting her back very slowly… and she was whispering into my beard… ‘just the smell’.

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Well, it turned out that Ilana was a very compassionate person, to hear it from Georgia. She took her away from the previous pad and installed her in another, where she hangs out. But then it turned out that at this new pad, the dude in charge was a cat called Charlie, who didn’t care much for Georgia from the moment he layed eyes on her. ‘He was uptight even before I arrived’, she told me, ‘because the monkeys living there had adopted this bitch named Bonnie, and she’s one of those super positive types who’re thankful for just being alive… telling you these up-beat messages, and waving her tail, drooling and licking like it was some kind of special present just for you’.

Turns out that this Charlie had been making her life miserable for the past couple of weeks… hassling her every time she left her room… It got so bad, that Georgia took a dive off the fourth floor balcony, and it took a couple of days till some monkey found her and she was ‘brought back home’. Well, I always like a happy end, I said. I was getting a little hungry by then’, she said. ‘But I’d had enough. I wasn’t going to let Charlie push me around anymore’. It could have hurt, going down from the fourth floor, I said. ‘There were some trees there… and a couple of branches on the way down’. They were happy though, to get you back, I said, half telling her, and half asking. ‘The bitch was all over me… barking with glee that I’d come back all right. I figure I still have to teach her to cool it around me. But first things first. And at this stage, my efforts are directed at Charlie. When he comes near, I just open my mouth and show him my teeth. I don’t say much, but he knows I mean it. Enough is enough’.

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a place

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one of my favorite places in this world

my Jerusalem

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there’s that special bread that I especially love here

When you love a woman, and you wish to tell a friend about her, it’s no simple thing. The first thing you might say… there’s this woman and I love her… but that’s just about yourself. So you try to describe her. She’s not the most beautiful woman in the world… but for you, the moment you see her, you smile… you’re happy. She’s intelligent… but you really don’t care just how much… She wears dresses down to her ankles… she has these little ear rings on her ears… She has black curly hair… but a lot of other women do too. You try to describe her and realize, that it could be any other woman. How do you explain how very special she is for you… how do you explain the way your heart dances when she’s close, looking through the window with you… and you’re not even touching…

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reptile in the rose garden

Well, it’s something like that, when I talk about Jerusalem to those who don’t know her… She’s not the most beautiful city in the world, and she’s not the easiest town in which to live. She’s got problems, and she’s got hang ups… she’s got too much traffic, and it’s not that well mannered considerate traffic. And when foreign dignitaries come to visit, the police close down streets just so the VIPs can go around without waiting at intersections the way we have to.

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turtle sculpture in the park

They say that Tel Aviv never sleeps… well Jerusalem never sleeps either, but no one talks about it. It’s not thought of as some special quality around here. When people think of Jerusalem… visitors, who come from out of town… they think of the wailing wall, or the biblical zoo… they think of the orthodox Jews dressed in black suits… or the colorful Arabs who are willing to negotiate a price in the market place… they think of churches or mosques… or synagogues… or the parliament of Israel, which is called the Knesset. And of course the museum, where you can get lost for days, learning all the time… though they don’t like people to photograph there. None of these things come to mind when I’m out of the city and longing to be home again.

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local folks at the wailing wall

I don’t care much for the pomp and ceremony. And though I love the stores and the market places, and the different malls that can be found in the city, I don’t spend much time there. And many of the libraries that were my second home in years past, are no longer as popular as they once were… after all, the computer has changed our life style to a large degree. I’ve never been at the sports Stadium, named after our legendary mayor, Teddy Kollek, who was elected five times to the job, and served almost 40 years.

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live music at a wine store

What I love about Jerusalem, are the people, with whom I share a common culture, and a common tongue, and the spirit that lingers and floats through the city, through the day and night. The many book stores, and the study halls, and the ‘hole in the wall’ prayer rooms, and the coffee shops, and the bars, and the night clubs and music halls, and the streets with laundry hanging out the windows, and poster boards where everyone can pour his heart out about what matters to him or what’s bothering him, and the parks, and the trees… and even the dead end streets that no one sees except the locals… and yes, the Jerusalem Forest which is sort of attached to the city right at the western edge of it. And the cats who are as much citizens as we are.

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a pleasant neighborhood corner

I like riding in the buses, or on the tram, and listening as other people carry on intricate and emotional conversations with their friends and relatives in front of everyone else while others read the newspaper, a good book, or even pray… not at all self conscious about the fact that they’re exposed and everyone can see them in their private moments. I love the many ice cream stands, and the vendor who cooks hot corn on the sidewalk and sells it hot to passers by in season, and the musicians who play for small change on the promenades… and the tourists who are so impressed by things we take for granted, and take pictures of everything. And now that we have cell phones, everyone seems to take pictures of everything…

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Jacobs ladder; park at the foot of Givat Mordechai

It’s Jerusalem day today. People from all over the country have come to the city, and there are all kinds of activities connected with the day. Some folks have even come from abroad… and so I thought I’d write something about Jerusalem. Though those of you who read me regularly, know I mention my beloved city quite a bit anyway. Trying to write about it as the subject of a post, though, was a bit harder than I expected.

loving our neighbor

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We are told to love the stranger in our midst, to insure justice without prejudice for the poor and for the rich. We are taught to take responsibility for the misfortunate… so that the poor, the orphans and the widows won’t go hungry. All of these precepts seem quite logical to a modern person. But why would we be asked to love our neighbor? And specifically, to love our neighbor as we do ourselves?

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And yet, when we examine our relationships to those closest to ourselves, we realize that we have the most friction, and the most disagreements with those closest to us. When dealing with a stranger, we may have to overcome certain differences… he might not know some of the conventions that we take for granted… he might not express himself the way we’re used to… and it might be easier to take advantage of him. So we’re reminded that we too have been strangers in the past. We too have been outsiders, we too have been without connections, and we should watch out for his interest. But with our own people, it’s almost the opposite. With a spouse or a relative, with a brother or a sister, everything is known. Or so it often seems. We speak the same language. We share the same conventions. And so we have expectations.

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It is our own country that we most often criticize. So often we have contempt for our own leaders, our own politicians, the religious leaders, and the clerks that manage the paperwork of the institutions we come into contact with. When we’re driving on the road, we’re appalled by the discourtesy of other drivers, and when we take a walk in a public space, we’re irritated by the litter we find, and outraged by all the advertisements. The fact that it might be much worse somewhere else in the world is no consolation for us. We expect that in our own country, among our friends, we should not have to encounter a lack of respect for nature, for innocent animals… certainly not for ourselves. And when it happens… sometimes… it makes us forget those very things that we love so much about our own society.

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This is a period in our country, when we count the days from Passover to Pentecost. In the first holiday we were delivered from slavery. And in the second, we receive the rules by which we live. During this period, we grieve the deaths of many great scholars who died because they didn’t have enough respect for their fellow man. And we grieve for the mass murder of a third of our people in the holocaust. And we grieve for all the soldiers who died in wars to defend our people and our society. But we celebrate too. We celebrate freedom and independence and love, and the renewal of our ancient state. In a few days we celebrate our Independence Day with fireworks and concerts and picnics all over the country. And the very day before that, we will grieve all the soldiers who died to insure that very independence.

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Recently, I showed you a picture that my father drew of the pond in the rose garden. And then I posted some photographs of the same place. The photographs shown in this post are of the same place, as my fellow Jerusalemites enjoying themselves there on a holiday. I love them, and it is a pleasure to watch the citizenry of my beloved city come out and celebrate together. But I have to admit, I was a little dismayed by the litter I saw. Ah, expectations… they can really do us in at times…

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grooming Charlie

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Charlie is a solid cat
he’s lived in a few places in his life
he’s lived with people and he’s lived with a dog
and knows how to take care of himself
we’ve taken walks together
he’s not insecure
not worried about getting lost
not worried about being loved
he can descend and climb the stairs
of a multi storied building
no problem
he’ll stay out all night
if he’s in the mood for romance
he knows his place in the world…
and Janne, she’s a tough lady too
she’s been living the real life
since her teens
she’s been tested, and she’s true
through thick and thin
and down and out sometimes
she didn’t lose her head
her troubles have just added
to her savvy and her soul
she’s a good friend
and nobody’s fool
and the both of them
know how to appreciate
the pleasures of life
with dignity

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