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Jerusalem, If I forget you…

May 23, 2010

I am sitting on a bench outside of the Jerusalem train terminal outside of the city. I. Am. Exhausted. How did I come to this state of exhaustion. Come journey with me through this weekend that was a classic Israeli weekend.

Thursday at 6:06pm: I am running for my life trying to catch the last non- stop bus from Naharyyia to J-ru. Key word is running- the train left as I was buying my ticket. Next train doesn’t leave for 30 minutes. Oh well. I wait around and see these other English speakers looking at the train map on the wall in a east-west fashion. I ask them if they’re going to j-ru. They are! What’s their story? They are studying at a non denominational yeshiva with my friend deb- who I was also going to meet. Did these guys know deb? Yes! One of them tried to sell deb to an Egyptian while they and other friends were touring Europe. Also, I was going to the same shabbat dinner as them the next night. Wow!
Thursday night: arrive in tel aviv. Decide not to transfer and go to j-ru but crash at Sams. We will for jru in the morning.
Friday morning: arise early and get ready to meet deb at this activist conference just north of Jerusalem but deb calls to say that she’s leaving early and to just meet her in the city. With lots of time to kill sam and I arrive in Jerusalem at 10ish in the morning.
Friday in Jerusalem: we decide to walk to the old city. We ask this young couple for directions on Hebrew. He laughs and says English is easier. They’re from NY. We walk 5ish km to the old city and walk around. We saw the wall, ate a falafel, went to the israeli shook- all the touristy stuff.
2pm. Dinner plans completely fall through so sam calls her distant cousins and they are more then happy to host us. The father is the CEO of ahava and the wife is cdn.
530: get to debs, shower change. I smell like poo!
700: arrive at SAMs cousins. Eat a wonderful dinner and leave at 1030ish. Deb texted us and told us to meet her at her dinner. The one we were supposed to go to. The address was 12a something st.
11pm ish. Arrive at the address. 12a something st. This is an appartment complex with six appartments. Deb didn’t tell us which one. So we start knocking on doors but noone is home anywhere and deb isn’t answering her phone.
1130: finally find deb. Turns out there are 3… That’s right 3 12a something st.
1132: walk into appartment and see the host is wearing all white clothes. He is a Kabbalist. He studies past lives. Oh… Interesting. My first though, honestly, was that I’m in no mood for magic tricks or voodoo spells. I was a skeptic. Anyways, he invites us in… He’s American and is one of the most welcoming hosts I have encountered. Laid back, relaxed. Not in a serious mood. One of the guests called him rabbi by accident. The host made the guest called him shmuck. Odd but ok.
1230: no more wine left And the deep stories come out. He was somewhere in the US and was called on for advice. A women had lost her 13 year old son in a tragic accident and could not cope. She locked herself in a closet for more the 20 days. Would not come out. Friends, doctors, family pleaded but to no use. This rabbi asked a few key questions about the boys tendencies and personality. Turns out he was an archetype talked about in the Kabbalah or another book. He told the rabbi what to say and she was out in two minutes. He didn’t tell us what he said just that ppl are put on this world to serve a purpose and that if we don’t fulfill this purpose we come back again and again. Apparently, there are instances that people can come back even after fulfilling their purpose and it’s usually for the specific benefit of someone and something. These people are already so close to god they feel gods presence when doing religious or good deeds. The host warned us about kids who have a bris but don’t cry or bar/bat mitzvah kids who get overly emotional and tear up just because of the prayers. They ‘feel’ god in a more powerful way then we do. This particular boy was Just that.
1am: WTF!!!! Time to leave and clear my head. Not to mention deb is passed out.
Saturday lunch: picnic in the park. No squirrels to chase. Just cats. I asked the name of the Kabbalist from the night before. I think I need to meet him one more time to hear his back story.
Saturday afternoon: walk around old city some more with friends who are in Israel for the week.
Later that afternoon: run into the nice couple who gave sam and I directions at the western wall. They invite me over for a shabbas meal next time i’m in Jerusalem. I accept!
Saturday night: walk 6.3 km- takes just over an hour to get to the train station 2 hours early with enough time to write this blog!
915pm: I ask a lady what time the gate opens she responds in Hebrew but without an israeli accent. She’s from Ireland and lives on a settlement in the west bank near Hebron. Whoa!! I ask her, “why do you choose to live in such a hostile environment with your kids?” she responds (paraphrasing): sometimes you need to put your faith in god because we can’t control everything.
Interesting response, no?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2010 6:45 pm

    Hi Justin, great to hear from you and your wonderful Jerusalem trip.

    i was asked a similar question when in israel during one of many hard times. why go to the lion’s mouth? i agree – we aren’t in control of when IT will happen. go, be, live, support wherever you choose, is my philosophy.

    have you met up with friends or cousins i gave you contacts for???? hope so,

  2. Dad permalink
    May 23, 2010 7:25 pm

    Hi Justin;

    Love the blog!

    I’ve always been fascinated by Kabbalah. Please keep me posted on what you learn and your opinion.

    As I said on skype, this is an awesome physical and emotional journey, one that you cannot learn in school or read about in a library book.

    Cherish and embrace everywhere you go, every opportunity and everyone you interact with.

    The world is such a beautiful place. And you are in the center of it.

    Love always and g-d bless,


    • June 13, 2010 9:43 am

      Thanks dad! Kabbalah is a tricky thing as it is synonomous with alot of other spiritual beliefs that consdered odd and weird. It’s hard to know how to differeniate between god, spiritualism, mysticism (or even to differentiate at all). I’ll keep you updated!

  3. Cuz Elaine permalink
    May 23, 2010 7:41 pm

    When you meet people like that you learn that you can never really make assumptions about people…..there is so much more to people than the physcial self reveals…I enjoyed this blog. Love me.

    • June 13, 2010 9:46 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed this entry and your right, one can never make assumptions about people and when I noticed his all white attire, I made that mistake. That’s a reason why i want to eat at his table again, to hear his full story with an open mind. He definitely comes from a very different background than me!!

  4. auntie c permalink
    May 24, 2010 1:18 am

    wee haa
    justin experiences J-ru in a spectacular fashion. This was the blog to end all blogs!!!! I felt like I was part of the journey. My sense is the the “Kabbalistic experience” will stay with you and open many more questions for you when you least expect it.
    soak it all in my friend… more to come… I expect…. more to come

  5. Jenna permalink
    May 24, 2010 4:56 am

    Hi Justin!
    I just finished reading the majority of your blogs (and watching your video), as I have not checked them out in a while!
    It sounds like you are having a marvelous time in Israel , and I agree with you that your experiences you will have are irreplaceable and unlike anything you will learn in University. I am so very jealous and wish that I was back in Israel or that I could come visit you.
    Mazel tov on your decision to stay in Israel for another 5 months! Will you stay at the same Kibbutz?
    Have you written your Hebrew CPR exam yet? How did it go?
    Also, I feel like you watch LOST, do you? If so, what did you think of the series finale!
    I hope to hear from you/ or see you on skype at some point soon!
    Miss you!

  6. Miriam Sharpe (aka mOm) permalink
    May 24, 2010 10:30 pm

    WoW Justin!

    GREAT entry – By far the most engaging to date. I will probably re-read it several times before I really comment.

    You know where I stand on all of this and all there is to say is ‘There are no co-incidences.’

    Loving you and missing you… I will re-read and think and sew.

    Stay safe…. XO MoM

  7. Bubby Ann permalink
    May 27, 2010 11:47 pm

    WOW!!!WOW!!!!WOW!!! What amazing experiences and what interesting people!!!! You are definitely meeting the world and the world ,luckily, is meeting you!!! I got tired just reading about it all, but sooo glad that you wrote and described it all. I felt as if I were doing this with you. I am still getting over my trip to Philadelphia for a Bar Mitzvah. It was very busy, but not as busy as your weekend. I also loved the pictures with this blog. Looks as if you are having the time of your life. Sooo glad that you took the time to share your adventures with us. Have you written your exam for being a lifeguard, yet. How did it go?? Looking forward to your next blog!!! Lots of love and hugs, Bubby Ann

  8. Sandee Sharpe permalink
    May 31, 2010 9:54 pm

    Cool blog – Interesting about the Kabbabalah and past lives, especially as I just spent this last weekend at the ‘I can do it’ conference in Toronto. Lots of holistic/spiritual speakers. Lots of thoughts (some people I resonated with, some not at all!) although here’s one thought from there…
    We have become very good at multi-tasking. It used to be that when we found a handwritten letter in the mail, it was fun! We’d think about what to write, actually write it, put on a stamp etc. etc. and it would take up to a week to arrive. In these days of instant communication and multi-tasking, we seem to have lost the art of reflection. Something to ponder/reflect about if we can pause for a moment or two!
    Go forth and be a discerning seeker – Kaballah, Israel or wherever that may lead. Love, Mee

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