Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.) Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching. She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:
The roads near French Hill, Jerusalem, have changed yet again. Not all that long ago I ranted about our loss the the combination bus stop and "trempiada," around the corner from French Hill. Now if you're coming from north of Jerusalem, like Shiloh, or even Pisgat Ze'ev and Neve Ya'akov, you have to take a very round-about way to French Hill. And if you're going by bus, you need an additional bus or walk further and through an Arab neighborhood.
Monday night was the opening of the Jerusalem Conference in the Hyatt Hotel, which is between French Hill and Mount Scopus and in what's considered an "Arab neighborhood." I've walked there from French Hill, and that was my plan. But the bus didn't stop across from French Hill. It took the bridge and left me off at Ammunition Hill, across from Ramat Eshkol, catty-corner from the "white statue," which isn't a Calder.
I was stuck with a dilemma. How could I go to the hotel? Walking through French Hill was no longer a reasonable option, due to distance and an "unpleasant" section of roadway. Walking up as it to the hospital would take a while, too. Taxis aren't in the budget of the unemployed, and there is a direct road straight to the hotel, but I've only seen Arabs walk there. I called my husband to ask, and he answered:
"Take the road by the statue."
"But it's full of Arabs."
"So, what could happen?"
"They could kill me."
"There are guards there for at one of the buildings."
I tried to get myself into a strong, confident posture and pace. They say that body language is a great defensive weapon. But really, an over-weight middle-aged behatted woman with a backpack strapped to my back, and a fanny-pack and camera strapped to my waist, I definitely didn't look very Arab. I looked like one of those crazy Jews from a sic "settlement."
The road felt very long. I was nervous about terrorists and being run over, since there wasn't a sidewalk. And I've already been run over by an Arab terrorist. I noticed the guard, and he noticed me, and soon I got to the end of the road, turned right and could already see the hotel.
Over the following two days, I took that route, again and again and again. This may not follow the Laws of Physics, but I am sure that it got shorter and even shorter. The last time I walked it, close to 2pm yesterday, it only seemed a couple of blocks long. And, no, it didn't sprout a sidewalk.
I'm glad that I walked it, because it is now the best way to get between French Hill and Ramat Eshkol. And I faced and conquered a fear.
Please believe me; it looked much more frightening in the dark!