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From My Home in Jerusalem

From my home in Jerusalem, I took a walk today. I passed the flowering gardens of Yemin Moshe, bright with orange and yellow blooms all along the block. I saw an Arab father helping his little boy onto the swings in Liberty Bell Gardens, and a little further down, I saw a class of forty haredi boys gathered together on the grass to have a picnic. As I passed the Great Jerusalem Synagogue, where both my son and my daughter got married, I saw a growing number of soldiers gathering by the entrance for some instruction, or ceremony. And as I walked further, I saw a group of high-level officers – lieutenants, colonels, and two–star generals – gathered on the crosswalk going towards the same place.

When I reached the center of town, I saw the hustle and bustle of Jews preparing for the coming Yom Kippur holidays – buying clothes, or food, or decorations for the sukkah on the Feast of Tabernacles. I saw a young couple with two little girls pushing a carriage as both girls skipped beside them, not a care in the world, in this peaceful little city, our little, beautiful Jerusalem, blessed by so many prayers, so many sacrifices, so many tears, so many triumphs of hope over despair, victories over defeats.

We sat together, my husband and I, in Big Apple Pizza, with its scenes from New York, my birthplace and father’s house that we had left behind after our wedding almost forty-seven years ago. The pizza was hot and delicious, the drinks icy cold. And the weather, a lovely warm Indian summer day that is with us in Jerusalem often until the middle of December, wafted over us with its perfect, cooling breeze.

It was so lovely, we decided not to take a bus back home, but to walk. We passed a police car blocking the road, but walked on past it, hoping it wasn’t because they were checking out a bomb. We walked past the walls of the Old City, joining a pastor with his wife and children, his clerical collar giving him away; and a haredi father with a little blonde boy with long payot flying in the wind as he sat on the bicycle seat in front of his father, a look of pure ecstasy lighting up his beautiful little face. And then down the path leading through Park Teddy, and again past the houses of Yemin Moshe, past the lively markets and restaurants of HaTachana HaRishona (the First Station). We walked over the wooden boards of Park Hamisilah, through the trees and green grass, taking time to rest on a bench in the shade near the outdoor free library, where we chose a book to take home with us.

And I thought as I reached home, how lucky I am to live in this beautiful city! What an honor, what a joy!

But before I could end this article and tell you all to come and see for yourself, my husband walked into my office.

“There was a terrorist attack today.”

My mouth fell open. “Where?”

“Here, in Jerusalem, at the light rail station near French Hill. Two people are dead. The police had arrested the terrorist, but hadn’t asked for him to be held in jail until the trial. So he was walking around free.”

From my home in Jerusalem, I will look up the details. I will mourn the deaths of the 29 year-old decorated police officer who just got married, and the retired 60 year-old former Knesset employee, who were both going about their innocent daily lives in Jerusalem when they were shot and killed. I will gnash my teeth that the perpetrator, a known terror member from East Jerusalem who was to begin serving a sentence for attacking a police officer today, wasn’t kept in custody, but allowed to roam by a benevolent court who granted his appeal for a postponement.

My feet are weary, but my heart is strong, reminded why we Jews will continue to fight, to build, to rejoice that Jerusalem is once again our home. Nothing they can do will ever change that. Nothing. Our love for our city will defeat their murderous hatred. Because this isn’t Europe. This is the Jewish State of Israel, built by survivors, persecuted, murdered, hated and lied to. Our past has made us wise, and wary, and strong enough to face the truth without blinking. From my home in Jerusalem, my eyes are open wide to the complexity of our existence, the depth of our joys, the bitterness of our failures.

May the God of Israel who gave us this land bless us and look down upon kindly in the coming year.

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13 comments on “From My Home in Jerusalem”

  1. Frank

    Just been to a lecture about the First Crusades. The the extortion from and then the slaughter of Rhineland and other Jews who were ‘in the way’ and then the calculated mass slaughter, over three days, of almost all the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem were discussed.
    The link with Naomi’s article? The terrorist incident reflects the views of so many – then, now and many times in between!
    The Jerusalem massacre was the first large scale ‘industrialised’ deliberate mass slaughter, but sadly not the last. There are those who would like to do it again.
    Peace!

  2. Rostislav

    Ah, the happy feeling of walking thru’ peaceful Jerusalem streets is familiar, indeed, to so many generations of its inhabitants and visitors, though these wonderful streets were terrorized more than often since the times immemorial. But the judges, who, in fact, are joining hands with murderous terrorists, are something entirely new and entirely unhappy. It’s just too bad, whatever may be exclaimed by the omnipresent defenders of the terrorists’ holy “rights”.

  3. Naomi Romm

    The beauty, the sadness and yet the hope all come together in this wonderful post. Thank you dear friend. Gmar Hatima Tova to you and family.

  4. Fern Kurland

    Dear Naomi, G’mar chatimah tovah. My best wishes to you and those you love.
    Am Yisrael Chai.

  5. Mickey Davis

    A cause for joy and a reason for tears, Jerusalem, our beloved homeland. In my life there is nothing I would want more than to move to Israel but circumstances preclude that from happening. People tell me it’s dangerous to live there. I tell them: “If I die at least I will be buried among MY people.” God bless you and gmar chatima tova!

  6. Dalya Horowitz

    Beautifully written – the highs and the lows the triumph and the tragedy that is Jerusalem and the Jewish people.

  7. Ethel Schwartz Bock

    What a sad ending to a beautiful day that we shared with you.
    After the latest disclosure about Trump, are you still going to vote for him? I hope not.
    Ethel Schwartz Bock
    NYC

  8. vicki

    Excuse me, Ralph, but it looks like you may have misspelled and by that, badly changed a word in your last comment.
    Naomi,I only wish and pray that my tears could somehow lessen the heartbreak for the people of Ha Shem in Israel. It won’t be long………..

  9. Abe

    Is this the beginning of a new novel you are writing ? I know the legal system in most countries is corrupt, but this is ridiculous.

  10. Cheryl Jacobs Lewin

    The newest murderer should have never been allowed out of prison. How many times will the courts and govt. of Israel keep repeating the same insane and dangerous actions?

  11. Ralph

    My heart breaks for Israel. My heart breaks everytime I hear one of us showing empathy with our killers and most of all my heart breaks when Jews and anyone else doesn’t understand that Israel is the only Jewish nation on earth which represents survival. Israel is the natural homeland of a people so depraved throughout written history.

    May Hashem shine upon the righteous amongst humanity.

    Am Yisroel Chai.

  12. susan cohen

    I was just in Israel in March of 2016, we also walked the streets of Talipot.I was hoping that this attach of innocent lives was over. Thank God none of this happened while we were there. Jerusalem is a lovely city, the changes we saw since my last visit was beautiful. The contrast between the old and the new was unbelievable. Dispite what these murders who hate us we will always be God’s chosen ones we will survive. Our people survived the horrors of the Shoah.
    Anyways I wish you and your family a Shana Tovah, may you be blessed with a long and healthy live or I should say be inscribed in the Book of Life.

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