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Around Little Corners

Out rabbi Josh Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim in Atlanta who’s currently visiting Israel posted his experience of visiting Jerusalem during these difficult times

I hate packing because I cannot come up with a system where I know immediately where everything is five minutes after the bag is packed. Sometimes it feels so futile that I focus on just being able to close the suitcase and zip it up so at the very least everything is contained. I packed in the morning for our trip to Jerusalem thinking about the news that I heard: Left wing Israeli protesters were beaten by a large group of right wing protesters with clubs Saturday night in Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem, a group of right wing Israelis (Kahane followers) protested crying out, “Death to the Arabs” as they marched in East Jerusalem. Left wing folks protesting them also were beaten. “Why is it always the left wingers who get beaten up?” I laugh at this bitterly funny thought. No wonder I want to contain things.

Without rigorous exercise as my body heals, I am turning to writing. So I blog on the ride to Jerusalem. We drop off our bags at Beit Shmuel, the hostile attached to HUC in Jerusalem. We are adjacent to the Old City and we head out for the Jaffa gate.

The last time I was in Jerusalem was 2010 and I stayed in East Jerusalem as I was with a group of Jews, Christians and Muslims leading The World Pilgrims pilgrimage. I had not seen the Mammilla Pedestrian Mall project completed. The developers called this mall the Rodeo Drive of Jerusalem.

On one hand there is something grotesque about such a commercial zone leads you right to the Old City. (I suppose the Wall could become a stand-in Santa where eager shoppers write notes of what they hope to get in the coming year and place those lists in crevices in the Wall.) Do I need to see Abercrombie and Fitch on my way into the Old City? On the other hand, it is beautiful, particularly how the artists have lined the corridor with interesting sculptures begging to be in conversation with the passerby.

Continue reading on “In the Time of Fire” blog

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Photo by Josh Lesser

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