COVID 19…you suck!

חלק שלוש עשרה

March 15, 2020

It’s our last day in Jerusalem and it’s finally sunny with clear blue skies…but now there’s no water in the apartment. The hubby thinks he found a man in the lobby who seems to be the manager of the building. Unfortunately, the man only knows Russian and Hebrew, but I think the hubby was able to articulate our need for running water. As I waited for any updates while standing in the apartment doorway, I met our four neighbors who had also come out to see what was wrong with the plumbing while reminding me to stay six feet away. Our next-door neighbors are also renting. They’re here from New York to be with their son who has cancer and undergoing treatment in Jerusalem. Our other two neighbors are olim (people who became Israeli citizens), a single man from the United States and a divorced woman from Missouri whose children made aliyah, prompting her to move to Israel to be with them and the grandchildren.

And then the electricity died…twice…

In an attempt to entertain ourselves while waiting for water and electricity, we spied on a group of people doing tai chi in the Rose Garden across the street, while a local woman fed the stray cats and birds on the sidewalk. In response to a potential lock down, Americans are hoarding essentials and buying up all the toilet paper. In Israel, the people are just chillin’ and taking it all in stride. Once the water and electricity return, we’re heading to Machane Yehuda for some Levy Brothers falafel before the entire market gets shut down.

Although not the usual overcrowding, Machane Yehuda is still open for business, the message from Bibi obviously not having gotten through to the vendors. The people here don’t seem overly concerned. At least there’s plenty of toilet paper! No issues here. On the way back to the apartment, we walked through Ben Yehuda out of curiosity. There’s definitely a lot less people. All the restaurants have only take-out food, their tables and chairs stacked against the buildings. Everything else is closed, police officers swarming to ensure cooperation. Looks like we’ll be hanging at the apartment again tonight. At least Katzefet ice cream is open.

I’m really starting to worry about our ability to get back home, but I’m also trying to think and behave like an Israeli. At this point, it’s just one day at a time. With Bibi’s trial conveniently being delayed, we’re hearing stories of some religious communities where citizens are defying restriction orders and clashing with police. American students are beginning to leave the country in anticipation of a full lock down and wanting to be back home with family before that happens, especially with Passover in two weeks. Back in the states, Brooklyn and Teaneck are being asked to self-quarantine in hopes of stopping the spread of coronavirus. And despite all this, people are still making aliyah, willing to quarantine for two weeks before making a new life here.

Now that all the restaurants with take-out are closed by 8:00PM (the new curfew), we find ourselves overwhelmingly grateful for the fully stocked fridge and pantry and will take advantage of it for the first time on our last night. Tonight’s dinner is a simple pasta primavera ala the hubby. And we just got an email from the airline – our flight has been merged with another flight and is leaving an hour earlier than expected. Although our seats have been moved, we’re still in Premium Class front row.

All we can do at this point is clean up the apartment, pack our bags and pray we can get to our next destination tomorrow – a hotel in Petah Tikvah, a suburb of Tel Aviv and only 20 minutes from the airport.

“When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you”

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel

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