I arrived in pious Jerusalem amidst the most recent troubles. There were race riots over the slaughtered boys on both sides, the light rail that weaved and symbolically connected East (Arab) and West (Jewish) Jerusalem was vandalized and the IDF launched attacks in Gaza while rockets were launched into Israel in return.
I put the phone back in my pocket. Rockets might be launched at me. Well, not at me, but at something symbolic upon which I stood. I wondered if it was right to play basketball against the backdrop of an armed conflict thatwould surely result in the deaths of many. But then again, maybe it was all that I was supposed to do. My feet started walking and I followed them.
Moments after the sirens stopped, two loud booms echoed from the west."That was the intercept," Shlomo told me.
"Rockets just exploded above us in the city," he said from Tel Aviv.
Schlomo and I walked to the courts at Liberty Bell Park. There were three full courts, but everyone was concentrated at one half at the east most end where a game of three on three went on. They were young and old, but mostly young. There were three Thai men, all under five feet tall, waiting to play. One wore a white jersey with a pot leaf on the front and SUPERKUSH written in ballooned letters on back. These weren't the first Thai I had seen in Israel. Many Southeast Asians are temporarily imported to do Israel's manual labor. With the addition of Schlomo and me, a second game of three on three began at the other end. It was me, Schlomo andyarmulka wearing Omer against three other Israelis. Our opponents weren't particularly intimidating. One was a lean redhead with a decent shot who never once opened his mouth not even to breath. The third was a short and round young guy with glasses that kept falling off. Then there was Shai, a great blonde bear of a man with a t shirt two sizes too small. We handled them without breaking much of a sweat. The only issue I confronted was the soup sloshing around in my belly. At one point, Shaithe bear gave me a solid shoulder to the gut and I felt the Yemeni influenced soup nearly geyser up through and out my esophagus.
This was getting weird.
I was to meet my guide, Shlomo, at Liberty Bell Park in the northwest. Shlomo (he ask I not use his real name) was a Boston bred Israeli who promised to show me around Jerusalem's courts. When we met, he felt a bit peckish and suggested we grab a bit to eat before we played. I was hungry, but I usually leave a solid three hours between food and play. Still, I wanted to be a good guest and went along with him. On our way to the food stand we went through a bourgeois, outdoor center. Underneath a pavilion were dozens of Israelis square dancing. This was strange on two levels: first Hamas and Israel were lobbing missiles at each other. Isn't this nation at war and in peril? Second, fucking square dancing?
CONTINUE READING JERUSALEM I
"Thanks, man. I will."
because I wanted to separate myself and decided to be unkind to my fellow gringos. The game was sloppy and interrupted by the need to retrieve balls out of bushes from the constant turnovers and airballs.
He gave me a wary look. I was already blowing my cover. Jake showed me to my quarters. It was a 3/4 single mattress bottom bunk. There were three other bunk beds in the room. Whatever. It was free. But how many times do I have to learn the lesson that nothing is free in this world?
Shlomo laughed at the event but was more interested in food. He ordered chicken and I got soup. We ate and politicked. The square dancing was usurped by a single guy singing Peter, Paul Mary's Puff the Magic Dragon. The crowd swayed softly to the tale of the whimsical, pot smoking dragon.
"Or maybe it was impact," another said.
About 15 minutes in, the ball was deflected out of bounds and each side assigned blame to the other. But before a resolution was made, a siren sounded. Though I had never heard it before, I knew exactly what it was, what it meant. It was unlike the rapid, pulsating and impatient wail of a police car as it pushes traffic aside. It was slow and long and deliberate and it reached into you. Under the urgent drone of the air raid siren, the players on the court and the observers briskly jogged to the closest protected area. It was a 10x10 stone structure that was about three stories high. It was unclear what exactly the building's purpose was. The 20 of us stood next to the building in wait underneath Adidas Rose 773 Sale the siren's roar. The length of the siren depends on the distance from Gaza. In Jerusalem, you have 75 seconds to find shelter. In Sderot, which is about a mile from the Gaza Strip, you have 15. Shlomo translated the multiple conversations around me. There were two Arab teens, whowalked fearlessly through the park, snickering at our huddled mass. There were several Haredim who Talmudically debated where the most appropriate place to stand would be. Shai, the bear, sighed, "Look at the country we live in." Another of the Israeli players lazily pled to the visiting Americans, "Tell everybody what they are doing to us."
"I don't want to scare you," Noah filled the empty space. "I just want you to be careful."
I didn't say Adidas Tech Super Glow In The Dark
I planned to stay at the Heritage House, a free hostel in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. The Heritage House is a "warm and friendly environment, where people can explore their Jewish roots." When I arrived it felt like a summer camp dormitory. Empty bags of chips and warm, half empty bottles of Coca Cola ornamented the living room.
I escaped the boy musk filled lodgings and began to walk out of the Adidas Sl 72 Jd Sports
The rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome, Israelis' novel defense system that shoots incoming rockets out of the sky with faster rockets. Imagine Reagan's Star Wars except it actually works.
Soon, several young American students arrived and asked if we were interested in playing 5 on 5. I didn't think that the old guys would be up for it, but we abandoned our game and made teams. I was put on the all Israeli team against my American compatriots. This was good Adidas Sl 80 Vintage
Old City to meet with a basketball contact, who was to show me the best courts in Jerusalem. As I walked on the worn stones of the Old City, my friend Noah, who had been living in Tel Aviv for the past six months, called me.
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