Each time I come back to Jerusalem this place tugs at me. The first time I lived here I didn’t have the easiest time. It was a challenging year of Rabbinic School and health issues. And when I left after that year in 1983 I knew then I wouldn’t come back.
What a difference almost 30 years makes! I have returned to Jerusalem many many times in those intervening years. And yes it has changed dramatically. I have returned here as tourist and as student living here sometimes a month at time as I study at Hartman. I am looking forward to returning again in July for a month.
It is surprising how comfortable I feel each time I return even as there are parts of Jerusalem I don’t know very well. I am not a regular visitor to Mea Shearim for example and I haven’t been to the Mall either.
And even though this city seems to get increasingly filled with traditional folks and the secular Yerushalmis are fleeing, there is something astounding to me after living in Los Angeles for so long. It gets quiet here. Not just on Shabbat but in the evenings. It is a small compared to Los Angeles.
People walk here. Yes there are cars and trucks, motorcycles and lots of buses and taxis. But people really walk not only on Shabbat.
This doesn’t happen in Los Angeles. Maybe you walk the dog or take a hike in Runyon Canyon. But most people don’t walk to get where they are going. LA is too big. The culture is just so different.
And so I appreciate being able to walk here in Jerusalem. To see the faces of the people as they walk toward me. I appreciate moving. I appreciate the streetscapes and being outside.
I love the feel of being here.