What Jerusalem is doing to me

Then he poked fun at me. “You look like one of those liberals who does not want Bibi to continue, so you must have voted for his opponent.”

By DAVID GEFFEN
October 10, 2019 21:27
4 minute read.
What Jerusalem is doing to me

Jerusalem from above . (photo credit: REUTERS)

I have lived in Jerusalem for 40 years. Only the really dramatic changes make me stand up and look at what our capital city is becoming in its constant, almost daily transformation. At times I do have my own personal Jerusalem experiences. This year they occurred as I moved around the city on train and bus just before Shabbat Shuva, the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
 
The first hit me hard because I was so surprised. During the last 20 years, you arrive at the supermarket, and put your five- or ten-shekel coin in so you can use the shopping cart. Thursday morning, I arrived at a market in one of the industrial neighborhoods. Pow! What hit me in the face: Shopping carts only available by putting in your teudat zehut (Israeli personal identification) number. Then a gate opens. A nice message follows: “You are permitted to remove the cart.” I immediately remove the cart, as I have no idea how long the door to these treasures will remain open.
 
I assume what has happened over the years is that too many carts have been stolen. Now if you don’t return this convenient item which you have used, the market officials come after you. Do not ask how long it is before the chase is on by the police.
Doors provided another dilemma for me. I had rung the bell on the bus so the driver would stop.
 
I started to exit the back door with my shopping cart. As my head was about to follow my cart out, the doors scissored my head. I did not know what to do. I assumed it was all over, no more trying to ask forgiveness for me. Someone near me screamed out nahag! (“driver!”) and, lucky for me, he opened the doors. 
 
At the driver’s seat there is a TV screen showing each person as he ascends or descends the bus. My driver was in a hurry, so “clip off Geffen’s head.”
 
The third event occurred in a cab. The driver asked me who I voted for. 
 
I answered him quickly. He said, “Do you really think you made the right choice?” I had been satisfied with the manner in which I cast my ballot. I have no idea whether it helped or hindered the candidate at the head of the party of my choice. 
“Why do you ask?” I asked. 
 
Then he poked fun at me. “You look like one of those liberals who does not want Bibi to continue, so you must have voted for his opponent.”
 
I turned the tables. “Whom did you vote for?” 
 
He answered without hesitation, “Bibi.” 
 
I was going to flip out the criminal accusations regarding our PM, but I thought of something better. When he stopped at the light near the curb, I jumped out. I shouted to him, “You can pay for the third elections.” 


GUESS I have a lot to ask forgiveness for. Maybe the police will come after me. I’m not sure why I put myself in jeopardy. After my tenth election a few weeks ago, I felt that I had to “make a statement.” Jumping out was all this 80-year-old could do.
 
The last event had occurred a few times before, but I wanted to enjoy it again.
 
I entered an Israel Discount Bank, where I have been a good customer for 50 years, even since before we immigrated to Israel. I punched in my identity number, and my number in line popped out. This was the first time such happiness and kindness of the bank hit me over the head. 
 
I had taken a seat expecting a long wait; the bank was full. All of a sudden I heard, “David Geffen, Counter 3.” I jumped up with a start, moved as fast as I could and showed the teller my number. Of course, she knew it – and my teudat zehut made her aware that I was 80. A treat!
 
Since I know the “80 law,” I jump to the front of a line whenever I can.
 
The best is in a post office on Agripas Street. A counter has a sign: “One item only.” Usually I have one item and I am the right age. There you must take a ticket. I jump grocery store and bank lines easily. 
 
At the Max Store on Yafo Street, I was waiting in line to check out when the head cashier came over to me. “Are you 80?” 
I answered positively. 
 
“Next time,” she said, “go to the first check-out counter. You do not have to wait in line.”
 
Of course, you are certain that I did not jump out of the cab – and you are right. But I wanted to do it.
 
Yom Kippur, for me, is a day of addition; everything you did right and everything you did wrong. Quietly, I say to myself at the ringing “Who shall live?” in the Unetaneh Tokef prayer, “David, try to do so much more right because you never know what tomorrow brings. Work constantly to cut down and reduce your wrongs. It will be very hard, but rest assured, you can do it – and God will help.”


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