November 14, 2017 – Jerusalem
Nine months after our 25th wedding anniversary in July of 2016, the hubby and I finally had the honeymoon we never had (due to elopement), hiring a private guide and renting a car for the entire two weeks we were in Israel and breaking the bank on whatever inheritance I had left. On the top of my To Do List was to buy a new wedding ring because the last one from my fourth wedding no longer fit my finger (see A Letter to My Woobie, September 28, 2016). Mentioning my mission to our guide, Asaf, informed us of his neighbor, Chanan, who owns a jewelry shop in the Old City. As soon as we arrived in Jerusalem, Asaf brought us to Chanan’s shop where we purchased a simple sterling silver band engraved with our Hebrew names and the date of our fourth (and final and halakhic) marriage. Several days later we picked up the ring and the hubby and I “remarried” in the parking lot outside the Armenian Quarter with Asaf as our witness to our “fifth wedding.” Not knowing the next time we would be visiting Israel, I announced that, upon our return, I would have my engagement ring reset in a similar ring to the one we bought.
Walking through the Mamilla Mall in order to access the Jewish Quarter through the Armenian Quarter, I stopped to take pictures of the various sculptures on display and for sale along the way.
The first thing we did upon entering the Jewish Quarter was to relocate the jewelry shop…but it wasn’t there. The hubby texted Asaf to ask where the shop had disappeared to and was informed that the shop had moved to the Cardo.
Phew! Walking along the Cardo, we magically found the shop without any effort. Entering the store, I ask Chanan if he remembered us, to which he shook his memory. Once I showed him my wedding ring and reminded him of his neighbor, Asaf, he gleefully recalled our interaction from last year. After extensive discussion about why Chanan could not make the ring requested and meeting his friend from England who made aliyah years before and is now a tour guide and has the sense of humor of a Monty Python t.v. skit, we settled on purchasing a gift for the woman who is house/cat sitting for us while in Israel.
Searching for the nearest sherutim (a.k.a. WC [water closet] or toilet), the hubby waited for me in the Cardo where he was startled by a pigeon suddenly dropping dead off a pipe of the ceiling structure and splattered itself on the cobblestones below. This can’t be good…
Having planned a trip to the Davidson Center/Archaeological Park next to the Kotel, the hubby promised to let me take my time and explore the surroundings. So much had been added since the last time we were there in 2011, I relished the ancient ruins.
The Temple Mount – thousands of years of rock strata relaying the history of the Temple Mount from the Babylonians to the British, burial caves, remains of extravagant Muslim palaces, living quarters that would cost millions by today standards, ancient vessels that once held grains, the Mount of Olives, mikvaot (ritual baths), Robinson’s Arch, gates blocked off from ritual sacrifice, wild rosemary bushes, rubble strewn overboard like trash, olive trees, crumbling staircases, cisterns that once provided water to its residents… and barbed wire…
On our way back to the hotel, we again walked through the Mamilla Mall as the hubby lectured me about stopping to talk to strangers. Noting a man carrying a sandwich board reading “No Dividing Jerusalem,” the hubby defied his own advice and engaged in conversation with the sandwich board man. I immediately reminded the hubby that we were scheduled to meet the kid and could not be late. After several minutes of persuading, the hubby managed to break away and we found ourselves back on track for the impending reunion with the kid.
Shortly after our arrival to the hotel, the kid texted that she was not far away. I cringe every time at the thought of my baby girl traveling by herself…on mass transit…in a country where Jews are hunted and murdered…simply because of who they are. The kid repeatedly requested that we promise to wait for her in the lobby – she needed this visit as much as we did…
Our reunion was emotional to say the least. We escorted the kid to the room we reserved just for her, knowing how much she needed the privacy and space as an only child used to such privileges having to live in cramped quarters with a multitude of aging-out teens. We quickly decided to have dinner at a restaurant recommended by a friend located two blocks from the hotel.
Catching up on the last two months, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner of kosher pizza, pasta, beer and wine – no questions asked. Afterwards, heading back to the hotel, the kid and the hubby traditionally held hands as if from day one…
and, being my child, the kid had to make it silly…
“It’s been a long, long time
Since we had a chance to get together
Nobody knows the next time we see each other
Maybe years and years from now”
Family Reunion – The O’Jays
“I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours.” – Forrest Gump