By Mar Silkes, NFTY in Israel Participant, Bus 3
One of the running jokes on my trip has been that people actually go to the bathroom in Jerusalem. It’s kinda crazy, the idea that this holy city, where people dream of going their entire lives, where the Jewish people have endless history and culture and which holds a deep spiritual value, oh yeah, people live there. Our first visit to Jerusalem was entirely focused on the holy aspects, visiting the Kotel, learning history, being Jewish. Of course, that was amazing and wonderful, but it was my second time in Jerusalem that really stuck with me. Then, instead of talking about how holy and important the city is, we went on a tour of some less known spots. An artist colony, a broken down building used for parties, a little-known shuk. Those were the places that really stood out to me. Those are the places in Jerusalem where people live, where stories are shared, where lives are lived, where fun is had. That’s the Jerusalem that happens when the tourists aren’t looking. And that’s the Jerusalem that’s going to stick with me. My entire life I’ve heard about the holiness of the Western Wall. I’ve never heard about the holiness of sitting in a small park watching the stray cats and laughing with friends, and I think that makes it all so much more special. As I head home and people ask for details on my trip, I have a whole new Jerusalem to tell them about.