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September 26, 2003 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-26

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Our Jerusalem

just returned from my 19th trip
to the city of prophets and
kings, a city devoid of natural
resources, except for its clear air
and stones that appear golden when
the sun shines against them in the late
Jerusalem is a city that has been
conquered many times in its history,
yet it holds out the hope for peace
and justice, where all shall sit content-
ly and none shall be made afraid.
The city that features Ethiopians
brought from certain destruction in
20th century medieval Addis Abba
walkina b alongside black-hat rabbis on
its streets. The city that sees high-tech
buses taking Russian-born computer
programmers to work across a biblical
skyline to an incubator business park.
The city whose native born sabras
have not known peace their entire
lives, yet inspire all who see them by
their determination to live to see a
better day.
This is the Jerusalem whose streets I
roamed and drove around for 10 glo-
rious days until they were saddened
with the death of two among many
whom I never met, yet I will never
Emek Refaiim is a beautiful portion
of Jerusalem, filled with shops and
restaurants, much like Ann Arbor or
Birmingham. I ate twice on this trip
at a great place called Caffit. I was
supposed to be at a restaurant called


Jonathan Brateman is a Southfield

resident and a former city councilman.

the Olive on Tuesday night, Sept. 9,
but my plans were changed. Maybe I
would have seen the monster that
changed the face of the world; maybe
he saw me in the days before the
pi gua, the terrorist attack.
Dr. David Applebaum and his
daughter, Nava, were dining at the
Cafe Hillel the night before her wed-
ding. The day of her wedding became
the day of a double funeral when a
suicide bomber at 11:30 p.m. deto-
nated himself and threw the
Applebaums' world into bloody chaos.
I cannot explain why the righteous
suffer, or why a man who had so
much to give would be no more. This
was a man who not only used his skill
as the head of an emergency room,
but who inspired all who knew him
by his personal behavior.
What deeds of kindness will be lost?
What might have been?
I mourn them and the others who
were killed that night and over the last
three years and over the last 50 plus.

Feeling The Texture

Jerusalem is a wonderful place. The
Talmud explains the measures of its
beauty. I saw archaeology from the
Temple period more than 2,000
years ago. Visited museums. Ate at
great restaurants, from Moroccan to
Middle Eastern.
I saw impressive-looking ambassa-
dors deliver their credentials at the
King David Hotel, and purchased
jewelry and religious objects from

does one pursue peace in a
long-time friends on Ben-
world where the front of the
Yehudah and in the Old
war is the front of the
City's Cardo. I kibbitzed
with taxi cab drivers and
chatted with political lead-
Jerusalem's Call
Life goes on for Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, I will not forsake
Wednesday, a few hours after
the attack, I was back on the JONAT HAN you. I will encourage all to
street, praying at the Kotel,
B RATE MAN visit you and to see your won-
ders. From the Israel Museum
the Western Wall, and tour-
Comm unity
and the Knesset and the Dead
ing the Migdal David, the
Vie ws
Sea Scrolls in your modern
Tower of David. I also
acropolis to the holy places at
shopped on King David
which Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David
Street for some gifts for friends.
and Solomon prayed and walked and
When I ate at the Ticho House
that evening, I knew I would be
The prophet Jeremiah had faith in
packing and preparing for my jour-
a brighter day for this city when he
ney back to Michigan. I used my
said at the time of its destruction,
video camera and recorded the
"There will once again be heard in
images of a Jerusalem evening one
the streets of Jerusalem the sound of
more time.
happiness and joy, the voice of the
Is it the jet lag or is day and night
bride and the groom." He purchased
and time itself on its head since the
a piece of land when all around him
trip? Do my senses miss the spices
were fleeing. His prophecy was real-
of the meals, the pull of my friends
ized when a portion of those exiled
wishing me well and the aroma of
were able to return.
the "upside down" coffee?
I will also continue to return. I am
looking forward to my trip next year.
The garden at the King David
I have full confidence that, with
was a place of respite from all the
God's help, when I will say the words
world around me. The chanting of
"Next Year in Jerusalem" at the con-
heartfelt prayers at the Great
clusion of Yom Kippur, I will be able
Synagogue and seeing those dear to
to fulfill that statement.
me engaged in song brought me
I have faith that the best days of
great comfort.
Jerusalem are still ahead of it, with all
Who is the man who loves life,
the challenges and all the difficulties.
asks the psalmist? What plan should
I love our Jerusalem. ❑
a person follow? David gives us an
answer: to pursue peace. But, how

An Impossible Question

few weeks ago, on the night
of the horrific terrorist
attack on Cafe Hillel in
Jerusalem, my wife and I
received a phone call from Detroit
from our friend Norma. It was close
to one in the morning. She and her
husband, Michael, and their four
young children were set to leave the
next day for a 10-day visit to Israel.
Norma was distraught. In addition
to her sadness over this latest atrocity


Robert Sarner is a senior reporter/edi-

tor on Israel's only English-language
daily TV show. Before moving to Israel
in 1990, he was a writer and magazine
editor in Paris and Toronto. His e-mail
address is rsarner@netvision.net.il



terrorist war three years ago,
and her concern for our well
many countries issued travel
being, she and Michael were
advisories warning their citi-
torn by what to do. After
zens against visiting Israel.
months of eagerly awaiting the
Hundreds of thousands of
trip, which was to include
people have canceled trips to
attending a friend's wedding in
Israel, decimating its tourism
Rishon Lezion near Tel Aviv,
they were now on the verge of
"Robert, tell me honestly,"
canceling it
Norma beseeched me. "You
Even before this latest sui-
know how much we were
cide bombing in Jerusalem and
another earlier in the day near
Commentary looking forward to this trip.
But with the situation seem-
Rishon Lezion, many people
ingly getting even worse, do
had discouraged them from
you think we should come?"
coining to Israel. Some told them out-
This was not the first time friends
right they were crazy, if not irresponsi-
overseas have called or e-mailed me
ble, to subject their children to such a
with such a question. In recent years,
perilous situation.
most Israelis with friends and relatives
Since the Palestinians launched their


abroad have been asked the same
"I can't really answer that," I told
Norma. "If you want, we can talk sta-
tistics and I could tell you it's far more
dangerous to drive on Israel's highways
than to go to a local cafe or restaurant.
I could say it's riskier going downtown
in Detroit than walking around the
center of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. But
the issue, of course, is not simply
numbers." •
This didn't really help Norma
resolve her dilemma but I couldn't
answer otherwise. "Of course, we
would love to see you here," I told
her. "But we will never tell you that
you should come. It's a personal mat-

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