Nothing but Olives

I’ve been in Israel for a workshop the last few days. The event wrapped up today around two, and I don’t fly out until tomorrow at midnight, so my plan had been to go to Jerusalem to see what the fuss is all about. Those of you who’ve been to Israel are now laughing uproariously at the naïveté of said plan, which involved getting to Jerusalem right as Shabbat begins and leaving right as it ends.

Which is how I found myself on one of the last buses out of Tel Aviv to Jerusalem this afternoon, heading towards a hotel I’d reserved a room at this morning, after having convinced a friend to drive me down from Haifa. As the bus climbed up into the hills and the shadows got longer, I feel a real thrill of anticipation. This is a well-trodden pilgrimage; people reach the end of it and the intensity of the place simply overwhelms them. A bit of it, knocked loose over the ages, lodged in my head. It helped that I’ve made a longish journey here in stages, and that sundown’s deadline was approaching.

In my case, the arrival was anticlimactic. The central bus station is not exactly a relic site; I don’t go to the Old City until tomorrow. But still. I’m in Jerusalem.

Shabbat shalom.

I assume that’s a reference to Dan Bern’s song “Jerusalem”?