Jerusalem day 9

29 May

Today was a tough day.

I woke up around 830 to go to class and for the first time on this trip I finally felt the physical toll of all the stuff we have been doing, and I just wanted to stay in bed. But on to class I went to discuss several short stories with Lori. Her class was unfortunately cut short due to the packed nature of the day but we had a pretty interesting conversation that ended up centering on who has a right to feel sad, and how sad, when visiting museums like Yad Vashem. It was interesting to hear that some people felt as if they couldn’t be as moved by the museum because they didn’t come from a Jewish family, or even because they didn’t come from a family that had a personal victim of the Holocaust. I think the conversation was really interesting and would have loved to continue to flesh it out but alas, our hectic schedule was calling and we moved on to the next thing.

We went next to the Musrara neighborhood of Jerusalem, which is situated right in the middle of the old ’67 boarder area and is therefore comprised of a lot of different types of people. There are Jews who were there before the creation of the state and were forced out in 48, there are Arabs who have lived there for generations, and there are Arabs who moved in after 48. Long story short there are a lot of different types of people there with varying claims to the land, but all sharing a love for the Musrara area.

We were in Musrara specifically for a tour of a community art project called Muslala. We walked around, unfortunately in the middle of the day in the hot sun, and looked at a bunch of art instillations that the Muslala group has put up in the public domain. Some of them are layered, which means that different aspects of the piece are completed at different times by different artists and layer together to create some really nice artwork. After the tour we went to the Muslala home base and talked to the creator about the work that they do and looked at some photos of performance pieces that the group has done.

Following the Muslala tour we finally had a short break for lunch, and in my case a short nap, and then met up as a group again to venture out into the Gonenim neighborhood to do some volunteer work at a local community garden. The garden is kind of a meeting spot and play area for the families in the area and the kids, some of them as young as two, were there planting flowers and using watering cans to help us plant some new herbs and a new fruit tree. The girl who we met there, and I say girl as she was 21, was working in the garden as a fulfillment of her mandatory service for the government. She chose, instead of going into the army, to go into what is called National Service, and had been working at the garden for three years.

The garden was a really amazing way to dig in and help out a community but also to amazing because we could see these families coming together, working together and trying to make their neighborhood nicer and greener by building a garden. Also can I just say that the little kids were super adorable, and most of them spoke English, which boggled my mind.

After planting our last plants and grabbing some dinner the group went on to a theater house to watch a play called Take Away. The play was in Arabic and Hebrew, and was therefore completely incomprehensible to me verbally, but I did find that some of the themes and emotions were familiar and I could kinda follow the plot. The story was one big, slightly confusing, allegory for the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. While I really wish I had been able to understand what the actors were saying the experience wasn’t a total loss.

So now, finally at 11pm local time our day is officially over and I can go to sleep and get ready for tomorrow, which is going to be amazing because we go to Masada and the Dead Sea!



One Response to “Jerusalem day 9”

  1. nu2013israel May 30, 2013 at 3:15 am #

    Great description, but we don’t know who wrote this post

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