The important thing about Aliyah is to take it day by day. The day by day mantra is in some ways a survival mechanism. In some ways it’s the best way to live any time, wherever you are. It’s a gentle reminder that time is the great healer. That foul moods (at all the never ending piles of laundry, and dishes, and counters to wipe, socks to pick up, clothes to fold, clothes to dry, clothes to put out, dry clothes to take, need I go on…) also pass like the sticky heat of the day into the cooling air of the night, where you can breathe and reflect. Every day brings something new.

Jerusalem after a month has become day by day. The day by day of normal, everyday living of anywhere in the world. Getting the children ready for camp, fetching them from camp. Preparing supper. Getting ready for the next day. The day by dayness with which life runs, without which, a house becomes infested with cockroaches, clothes are grubby and children are lost under all their dirty socks. The day by dayness which holds us, without us knowing. Where we continually create order in a world of chaos and disorder.

Of course the day by dayness in Jerusalem can easily become special. It’s going to see the Godfather on the big screen at the outdoor Sultan’s pool accompanied by the Jerusalem Philharmonic Orchestra. The modern American story of guys and guns sharply contrasted by the ancient amphitheater. Enjoying the spine tingling, cinematic ratatata of gun shots that echo into the Jerusalem night alongside thousands of appreciative Israelis and tourists.

It’s about trying new gastronomic delights like stuffed artichokes with mince, ceviche and Kubbeh soup. Israel is very much about the food and finding new places to eat. Like the charming Bread & More, a bakery, deli, coffee shop on 35 Emek Refaim. Its owner is a young girl, Sharon, who runs the shop with her interior designer mother, Irit. Together they’ve collected the choicest cakes, cheeses and breads from all over Jerusalem. It’s the go to place for chocolate truffles, walnut and sour dough bread and decadent cakes such as the Kinder Bueno cake I bought for Shabbat. A cake to live and love another day for. And their Cappuccinos are amongst the best I’ve tried yet in Jerusalem. The kind of cafe I love having down the road, one that welcomes my boys with their rambunctious mess as chamudim (cuties) and where you can sit with the owner and have a good chat about Israel, what it means to live here and bring up children here.


Bread & More


Irit and Sharon

Irit and Sharon

And then there’s the taxi driver conversations. Yes those legendary Jerusalem taxi drivers who are the philosophers of Jerusalem. At first I thought the one I had the other day on the way back from town was a hidden tzaddik. He said, ‘Life is hard here.’ ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘The politics. There is no love. Everyone hates everyone else. The religious won’t speak to the secular. The Arabs hate the Jews. To me every person is a person whether they are Jewish, Arab or Christian. It’s against the religion of the world to hate any person.’ My kind of guy. Until of course he had to continue, spitting his words out vehemently, ‘We don’t have peace because of the Right, because of the settlers. They’re crazy people. They’re ruining everything.’ So much for loving and accepting everyone. But it was an alive moment, which reminded me why I’ve come.

Day by day is about knowing that it’s what I make of it. Whether it’s a day in bed with tonsillitis or a day out and about walking the narrow streets of Jerusalem, where artists can be dotted along its paths trying to capture a corner of its sand stone character. One day at a time.