The 11th Floor

A Perpsective Overlooking Jerusalem, Israeli Life, and Talmud Torah

Thursday, May 24, 2007

An update of sorts

Things in the holy land? Up here in the small mountain town of Shalem, its quiet. The heat of the last Sharav has passed, and with last week's unexpected downpour of rain (the intensity of which stunned most natives) the landscape is still green with the occasional bunch of flowers. Last night, Emek Refaim was closed to traffic, and all the restaurants (including the two traif ones) had streetside booths, offering meats and treats of all kinds. There was Rikudei Am at the local arts high school, rock bands, blues performers, and all sorts of crafts for sale. A charming time with half of Jerusalem and every Seminary girl mulling about.

But the attacks on Sderot and the reprisals by the IDF are making everyone a bit nervous. Couple that with a Prime Minster that everyone loathes but that nobody wants to move out or replace, and a defense secretary too stupid to move the lens caps of his binoculars, and the Qassams are worrying (and killing) people. Thankfully, the west bank has been quiet- one of the few advantages to the pullout from Gaza is that the loonies in Gaza are cut off from their slightly less loony friends in the West Bank. It's kept the IDF out of more trouble, and the longer calm prevails in the West Bank, the better the chances are for helping people in that area find their way to the negotiation table


Lag B'omer found us in Peki'in, the home of R. Shimon barYochai's cave. Pekiin is a lovely town where until 1948, Jews had lived for 2000 years (the people of the town could not stop the arab mobs that came from elsewhere in the gallil to kill jews). When those jews that fled did not come back immedaiately, the town made sure the synagogue was kept safe for when their neighbors finally did return. It does not hurt that the whole village is mostly druze and that the whole down relied on a single well until well into the 1970's. A religion of tolerance and a single water source can go a long way to promoting tolerance.

When we returned to Jerusalem late that night, the smell of burning .... everything was in the air. Every corner had a fire of some kind, and Sacher park was more like a vision of Gehhenna with fires on the paths every 5 feet. It's a rather pagan event here in God's city, and if Rashbi saw it, he'd put half the city in cherem. he would have much more preffered Yom Mangal ( or should I call it Yom Ha'atzmaut?).

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