While in the States, I noticed something. The modern Orthodox Upper West Sidish community all think they know what ‘Katamon‘ is. I know that because every time they asked where I live in Jerusalem and I hesitantly responded, ‘er – Katamon – but -‘ they would give an understanding nod, pleased at the obvious response.
‘Right, of course…’ they say, while they think: They are young, religious, and Anglo… makes sense.
But let me catch my breath a second. These sweet New Yorkians don’t realize I’m an intolerant bitch.
There are two reasons I don’t wake up every morning and vomit:
1 – I’m not pregnant.
2 – I don’t live in Anglo Katamon.
I live in Mizrachi Katamon, which is actually Katamon and not Old Katamon, German Colony, San Simon, Baaka, Rasco, Rechavia… The true Anglo hubs.
When I go to the supermarket, loud Mizrachi people are yelling greetings at each other front he top of their lungs for no good reason. The makolet guy makes fun of us for being Ashkenaz. The shwarma guy is patient with our accent and waves hi when we walk by. No one here speaks English. Friday afternoon smells of kube, not chicken soup.
And I can’t help but enjoy it. As long as I’m living in Jerusalem – which is not so much where I want to be – I might as well live here, where I can forget for a second that my nationality doesn’t really fit in to the country-at-large. Where everyone is indeed an immigrant at some point, but from a million different Arabic countries. Where I can be close enough to my friends while waking up everyday to weird Arabic chants and come home to the smell of lingering cumin.