Early Friday morning a few weeks ago, I was on a bus to Jerusalem's Central Bus Station. I planned to take another bus from there to Mevasseret Tzion, a suburb of Jerusalem, to get a ride to Bet Shemesh for my weekly job in a school there. I was right on schedule. On the bus, I went over my notes for the day, jotting down any new ideas that came along. The bus sighed as we curved around a sharp bend in the road, and I looked around at the other passengers.
I love riding public transportation because I see the most interesting people. I find myself staring at them, picking them apart, and imagining their stories. I examine their clothes, their hair, their belongings, their facial expressions, note whether they are traveling alone or in a pack, if they meet my gaze or if they are also looking around at the other passengers. With all of these bits of information, I piece together their histories and where they are going. It was a gorgeous day, a preview of spring, and the tension that continuously hangs in the Jerusalem air seemed lighter. Though it was early, people were already out preparing for Shabbat.
Jerusalem. City of gold. City of white stone, winding streets, rolling hills and pleasant breeze. City of covered heads, baby strollers and family picnics. Where do the singles fit in here?
When I tell people that my job is to recruit students for long-term programs and encourage young adults to spend time in Israel, the response is usually, "Go to Israel now? Are you crazy?