I've always loved language. As you can probably tell, I love to write, but unless you know me, you might not know that I also adore reading and probably love speaking most of all. (There is no use pretending I don't talk a lot. This is an honest blog.) I've always been infatuated with words. It was this love of language that convinced me that I would be happy as a speech therapist, enabling others to communicate effectively. Of course, I was never truly content as a speech therapist (a blog for another time), but I did always love the magic that came with connecting a child with language (cue after-school special music.) One of the things I love about language is that the same word can have several meanings. In Hebrew, we are told "yesh shtei mashma'uyot"- there are 2 meanings. This can be slightly frustrating for a new language-learner, but also endlessly fascinating to a lover of words. The multi-meaning word I wanted to focus on in this post is "cold."
Our first translation refers to the current weather pattern here in Jerusalem. While surely not as cold as my hometown of Queens, or other northern areas of the United States and Canada right now, Jerusalem is certainly no longer the balmy, sunny and breezy oasis it had been since I made aliyah. Now, upon waking up, I actually have to check the weather in order to dress for the day. I've had to unpack my sweaters. I've had to buy tights and leggings. While none of these is all that terrible, I do long for the days when I didn't have to bring a jacket and scarf, in anticipation of a chilly Jerusalem evening, or plan ahead by shlepping an umbrella on my errands. And I know in Israel you have to be psyched when it rains, but I'm not there yet, and my rain boots are sitting safe and sound in my bedroom in Queens! It's not my fault though- how was I to fit all my winter stuff into my 4 oversized duffles when I made aliyah? This all makes me sound pretty jappy- moving on!
The second translation for "cold" refers to the irritating illness that befell me this past week. I'm sure you were wondering where I was and why I wasn't blogging. Well, I'll tell you! I was dealing with a huge, intense, hideous cold. I used to get sick all the time in the States. It's probably my fault- I incubate myself tremendously and am terrified of germs, so at the slightest exposure- boom- bad cold. I've been getting flu shots to lessen the possibility for the past few years (as Chanuka presents- do I have the best parents, or what?) but it totally slipped my mind to get one here. Last week, I felt that foreboding tickle in my throat and I knew it was coming. In the spirit of honestly, I will tell you how I dealt with a cold back in New York. I went to my parents house, and they took care of me for those few days. It was one of the very few perks of still being single, and I took total advantage. My mom would buy me Puffs Plus (ohhhh I miss you, Puffs Plus...) and bring me medicine (I'm a medicine gal- not remedies, not Vitamin C, not saline solutions- medicine. So sue me) and I would ride out the illness on a cloud of Nyquil and Saved By The Bell marathons. This time around it was me, my tiny room, a roll of toilet paper (no Puffs, remember?) and whatever shows I downloaded free on iTunes back in 2010. After 40 hours, I emerged from bed, mostly healed, and praying for continued good health this winter. Amen.
The third "cold" I will discuss is cold in the emotional sense. Apparently, Jerusalem is going through quite a bit right now. We have what is being referred to as "the Silent Intifada," where Muslims are targeting Jewish people, sites and police in a series of violent activities which individually are troubling and collectively are completely unnerving. In just the last few weeks, we've seen rioting, destruction of municipal property, a murder of a 3 month old baby, an attempted assassination of a Jewish Temple Mount advocate and untold numbers of rock and molotov cocktail- throwing. Last week I attended a rally at police headquarters, showing both our support for the police and our desire for them to actually have freedom to ensure our safety. It appears (although I am not totally privy to all information) that they have the unenviable task of keeping the peace while being unable to use any true measure of force when dealing with the violent element. All this leads to a small but tangible chill of unease walking around Jerusalem, this city that I love with all my heart. Compounded with this is the news out of the US last week where senior members of the administration chose to call out their staunchest ally in the Middle East, if not the world, as a coward. How frosty is that? Considering the source and the target, the assessment is almost laughable, if it wasn't so damaging to our two countries' relationship and the way our detractors view us. One only needed to read the New York Times or Ha'aretz or some other such anti-Zionist publication to see how much enjoyment enemies of our State gleaned from this snub. There is indeed a tinge of cold here in Jerusalem of Gold.
But I hate to ever leave a post on a sad note so let's spread a little warmth, eh? My close visiting friend visiting from the States brought me my jacket, so already I'm feeling less cold physically. Because of the kindness of friends and family, and untold hours of sleep, my head cold is clearing up. And I have all the faith in the world that whatever hardships this city (and this country) go through, we will always be okay, as long as we Jews who love it continue to defend it with all we have. For now, I will be here in Jerusalem, and I invite you to join me here maybe with a nice, hot cup of caffe hafuch!