Goodbye, Holy Bagel

A couple of days' ago, half an hour before I meant to go out to do a bit of shopping, there was another flurry of sirens and gunshots nearby.

I don’t know if it’s a good sign (because you do actually have to carry on, and try to live while all this madness is going on around you), or it’s a bad sign (because maybe, it’s pointing to a level of spiritual exhaustion and apathy which is quite troubling) – but I’ve almost got blasé about all the craziness.

If all my family members are home, I don’t blink an eye now. If they aren’t, then it’s a little more concerning, but not the instant panic attack of a couple of months’ back. Thank God. So today, everyone was home and I wasn’t even going to check the ‘what’ of it all, except one of my kids has a kind of ‘need to know’ when she hears sirens going off.

I told her it was too early – that she should wait another 10 minutes, and then we’d probably get the first reports of what we’d just been hearing going on around us. 10 minutes later, JPOST told us that a 15 year old girl had just been lightly stabbed (may she make a full recovery) up the road from us, about 10 seconds from where my husband goes to yeshiva.

Like I said, I don’t know if I’ve just gone numb to it all or what, but curiosity satisfied, we put on our coats and headed into town. Which is when I saw that Holy Bagel was gone, the latest economic ‘victim’ of the wave of terror.

Now this is the strange part: Holy Bagel closing down really upset me.

And it’s not like I was there every day, or even every week, or even every month. On the odd occasions when I wanted a bagel, that’s where I usually went, and over time, I half got to know the owners, but only in a very superficial way.

Before my own shop went spectacularly bust in the Old City last year, wiping us out financially, I never really appreciated the impact of a shop opening or closing. I never understood how much money people invested in these businesses, or how devastating it could be when one day they just disappeared.

As the perennial shopper, it was mildly interesting, a little annoying (if it was a shop I really liked) or mostly, completely not even on my radar. As the post-bankruptcy small business owner, Holy Bagel sinking hit me like a hammer blow. I really felt sorry for the owners, and found myself worrying about how they were going to make ends meet now.

I know it’s not going to hit the headlines any time soon, but businesses like Holy Bagel going bust is another, more hidden, pain caused by the latest Arab violence. Whenever I go into town now, I see more empty shops with ‘to rent’ signs stuck up on them, like ugly gaps in a row of healthy teeth.

It can’t carry on, I think to myself.

But at the same time, it is carrying on, and doesn’t seem to show any signs of letting up anytime soon.

It’s such a strange time, isn’t it? And I have no idea what’s going on, or what is going to be. A few months’ ago, you could smell Moshiach in the air. Now? You can’t. Or at least, I can’t. Where did he go? Is he coming back soon? Are we still heading for geula, or is all this Arab terror a diversion and a red herring?

I don’t know. But what I can tell you is that the Arabs aren’t just trying to kill people, they’re also trying to kill the Israeli economy. And if Jaffa St is anything to go by, the patient is approaching a critical state.