23 February 2009

Monday - Going Up to Jerusalem

After a full day and night of travel, arrival is often exhausting. Less so when you are energized by where you are going – or returning to. I had been back to Israel once, since I lived there for my first year at Hebrew Union College. Michelle and I had not been back together since then – the year that we met. After fifteen years, every city changes – and Jerusalem is on the fast track. Barely had we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, when we turned around to hit the Midrachov (read “pedestrian mall”). In Jerusalem, when you say “midrachrov”, it means the shopping area around Ben Yehudah street where, it is said, you will meet everyone you know. We found our way quite easily (although distances had expanded and hills gotten steeper) to Moshiko, my favorite shwarma place and perennial first stop. Shwarma is the Middle-Eastern version of the Greek Gyro (or the Turkish Doner Kebab). Slices of meat, usually lamb, but sometimes mixed with beef are stacked up in a big column with a spit through the middle and rotated around a heater coil. Sometimes an onion sits on top. The fat and spices drip down and flavor the meat. Using a long flat knife, the server cuts off thin strips of the meat from top to bottom which are placed on a pita – either regular sized or huge. Inside, you can also have chips (French fries to us), humus, Israeli salad (cucumbers and tomatoes), onions, lettuce, pickled cabbage, red or green hot sauce, Israeli pickles – and much more. I went with the yellow curry sauce (which has been renamed mango something – go figure), the hot sauce, onions and the shwarma. One bite and I was back in Israel – which was convenient. While enjoying dinner, several people I knew strolled by. Just like going back to your parents’ house with Mom’s cooking on the table and all your friends outside – going up to Jerusalem is like coming home.

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