Relationship Status: It’s Complicated with Jerusalem.

Today’s Writing Gym was Jerusalem-themed for Yom Yerushalyim… Here’s my take on meeting up with an Old Flame…

Oh, hi… long time no see!

Yeah, I’m, uh, I’m doing ok. Actually, not living too far from here, just over the hills, 15 kilometers out… Oh, it’s lovely, yes. The weather is comparable, totally. I couldn’t live on the coast, you know that.

How have you been? Oh, sure, I’ve heard about the demographics, riding a tidal wave towards seas of black. I take it you’re still being undermined by the rest of the country? Uh huh. Right. Well, hey, you never know, the mayor may actually accomplish some kind of renaissance in the time he has left.

You look great, though. Oh? A lot of surgery, I see… Yes, I was kind of wondering what all the bandages were about.

Oh, no, I’m not judging. You do what you gotta do to look young. Sure. As long as it’s not affecting you internally, spiritually… Oh, I’m sure it’s complicated… Well… maybe there’s someone to see about that.

Am I happy? Yeah, I really am.

Look… I’m sorry I never call. I know I said I’d keep in touch but you know how it is… Marriage, work, kids… Lots going on.

I… I think about you sometimes though. I… I miss you at times. Your cool touch, your inner beauty, even the hardness of the walls you put up. I always saw through you. And I bet others do, too. You must have had so many lovers over the years. And we all know the truth about you… You’re never what you seem…

Well, it was good to catch up. Don’t let them do too much to your face, ya hear? Or I won’t recognize you next time I’m in town…

Yom Yerusha-what?

Last night, I completely forgot it was the evening of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day). If I had remembered, I might have at least considered going down to the Old City to pay my respects and tributes.

What is it about modern Jerusalem that makes it so easy to forget? Is it the modernity in it? Is it the politics? The imperfection?

Part of it for me is the political implications. Sure, 41 years ago today, Jerusalem was ‘reunited’ – on paper. In some of our hearts. In some of our minds.

Part of it for me is the general apathy. The municipality tries to make the city more attractive, tries to find the bridge between ancient and holy, and modern and successful. It’s not working though. People are leaving. The city is becoming more Charedi, Arab and touristy.

Part of it for me is the letdown. For the first 12 years of my life Jerusalem was a holy city, untouched by rubbish. When I visited here for the first time, I was severely disappointed. Blame the high expectations on my diaspora yeshiva education, on my enthusiastic tefillot, on my imagination, but the fact is – it’s just not even close to the Jerusalem I thought I was supposed to long for.

I suppose the main thing about a reunited Jerusalem of 41 years is the attainment of the Old City. Maybe later I will go down and there and say a word or two. Or maybe I won’t.

East siiide.