Thursday, July 26, 2007

What's with that Title?

I'm going to try to blog at least a few lines every day, hopefully soon I'll settle into a style that works for me.

Why did I call this blog 'Between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv?"
I live in Modi'in, which geographically is almost mid-point between Israel's two major cities, but one of the reasons that we choose to live in Modi'in is that it is between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in other ways as well.

Population-wise, Modi'in is a mixture of people who came from Jerusalem (or at least a "Jerusalem mentality") and Tel Aviv (or a "Tel Aviv Mentality").

Jerusalem is the spiritual centre of the Universe. Most of the people there strive to keep Mitzvot and get closer to G-d. Tel Aviv is the industrial centre of Israel. Many of the people there are more concerned with the mundane, sometimes at the expense of their spiritual needs.

It's now a few days after Tisha B'Av. A few years ago one of the major Israeli dailies summed up the difference between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with two photos, showing a typical Tisha B'Av in each city. The Jerusalem photo showed the Kotel, packed with people crying for a loss almost 2000 years ago. The Tel Aviv photo showed a restaurant packed with people, unaware that they had lost anything at all.

Unfortunately, today Jerusalem and Tel Aviv represent two separate worlds: The world of people who cry on Tisha B'Av, and the world of people who aren't aware that there is anything to cry about.
The real reason to cry today is that these two worlds aren't capable of understanding, or even talking to each other.

Recently I attended a dinner to honour Rabbi Brovender. One of the things he recounted, sadly was how much Israeli society has become self-segregated. He said that when he lived in Kiryat Moshe (Jerusalem) in the 1960s, you would see people on the street with hats and jackets, knitted kippot, shorts and ponytails, or any other style of dress. Unfortunately, today people tend to live in neighbourhoods where everyone dresses (and thinks) alike.

As I said, Modi'in is one of the few places in Israel where the demographics represent "Amcha" - Israeli society as a whole.
We are in the process of moving into a new house, and are starting to meet our new neighbours. Some where kipot, others don't, but hopefully we will all live together on the same project any be able to not just see each other, but learn and benefit from each other.

In my humble opinion, this should be the future of Israel - not a wall between us and the Palestinians, but a bridge between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

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