I chose Jerusalem as the city I would reside in when I made Aliyah. I wanted to be in the center of the universe. I needed to connect to the most Jewish place on earth.
Jerusalem is known for two things: Religion and the Conflict, with a capital R and C. Living here, you can feel it 24/7. The air is thick and it is not just intense; it is downright tense, period.
Yet it has an energy, a life source and you can feel the pulse of everything that lives and breathes. I love the diversity of Jerusalem, the quirkiness, and the charm of old architecture and the grit of this city. I have reappropriated my blog, 1jewess, to focus on the softer side of Jerusalem, the interesting side! After I moved here, I abandoned Hasbara and became the anti-Hasbara of Hasbara. I have aimed to feature the personality of this place, which is rarely ever shown. I love discovering the art scene here and the creative people who share their talent and beauty. There is fashion, great cafes and restaurants. I have been in awe of the films, theater, dance and music here. Jerusalem is so culturally rich and it has a secular nuance that runs through every facet. I wanted to to remain a voice that could show the world my Jerusalem.
Yet I cannot seem to get enough air. There is a lack of oxygen in this place that is inescapable. The secular Jews of Jerusalem are such an integral part of the fabric of the city, but it is often stifling, censored and awkward at times. The religious presence is so thick, so strong, that a secular Jew has to be very tough and give not one care to the objection that silently plays on repeat everyday. There is a quiet judging eye always upon me. I am a single woman in her 40’s and I do not dress halachically compliant. The Haredim assume I am not Jewish, hell they think Tel- Avivians are not Jewish either.
We are more than the costume, more than the trappings. We are more than a transplanted Polish ghetto. We are more than rules, legalism and commentary. We are more than religion. These notions come from my observation; I only speak for myself, not Jerusalemites… how could I?
Jerusalem is the preservation of the past of Israel.
Tel Aviv is the installment of the future of Israel.
The Haredim are trying to preserve Judaism.
In order to preserve something, you must put it in a jar of formaldehyde.
Nothing, of course can live in there.
They are trying to preserve a cult.
Tel Aviv is trying to preserve a country.
Jerusalem is Talmud Judaism.
Tel Aviv is Jewish culture.
I suppose Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are no different than New York and South Dakota or Los Angeles and Oklahoma.
Sometimes I fantasize about a musical on the Sinai event, like Alexander Hamilton. It would have gays at Sinai, chicks in halters, Haredim, trans people, non-binary- all singing their guts out to some bad ass hip-hop rendition of the Shema or even Hatikva.
Jerusalemites dance at the Kotel.
Tel Avivians dance in the club.
Yet we both dance in the streets.
David danced naked before the ark.
We dance in bikinis.
They dance in kippahs.
We both love life and we never stop dancing.