April 11, 2024
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April 11, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

As I packed my suitcase to head home with bags of presents and kilos of candy, I struggled to find a spot for the unavoidable guilt, the sense of abandoning ship while the situation at home deteriorates.

While Jerusalem did bare its traditional sense of spiritual tranquility and joy, empty storefronts, a crippled tourism industry, small children to the west and south in bomb shelters, and thousands of lives in peril, sadly comprise the narrative of the day. Fourteen months of yearning to step foot on the soil of our homeland, and I’d be returning home with a report akin to those of the 12 spies.

And just like the meraglim missed an opportunity, I nearly did, too. That is, until, at three in the morning, leaving the hotel to head to the airport, I witnessed the following scene amassing outside the David Citadel hotel:

Three haredi Israeli yeshiva students, together with a hipster-looking rockstar type in some sort of intense negotiations with the chiloni security guard at the front entrance. While they seemed calm and polite, something seemed awry; and being a nosey American I was intent to get the full scoop.

The hipster fellow introduced himself as Nathan, a resident of Jerusalem who resides just up the block from the hotel. As it turns out, these three haredi fellows were stranded without a ride, taxi or bus; and had been trying for hours to make their way back home, with no luck.

Nathan had been sitting outside some hours earlier, saw the group in distress, and was trying to find them a taxi home, but was equally having no luck. At this point with it being three in the morning, Nathan generously offered to book (and pay for) a room for them at the David Citadel until morning when they’d have better luck getting home.

Yes. That’s what’s going on in our Holy Land.

Nathan, who I soon realized was Israeli superstar pop singer Natan Goshen (127 million-plus hits on his Spotify) hasn’t performed in a year because of COVID, had his brand new concert schedule canceled because of the latest attacks, yet is not fazed about his commitment to the Jewish nation. He doesn’t care that these fellows have never heard of him or his music and don’t have smartphones to upload the incident to social media: He just needs to know that his brothers are safe and have a warm bed to sleep in.

And that is the real trip report.

You can shoot thousands of rockets at us, make up lies about our homeland, and demonstrate your true Jew hatred, but you will never break us. We will take care of those in need, and we will leave no Jew behind. Hipster hat or black & white—it just doesn’t matter. We are one nation. We will stick together, forever.

By Avram Zamist

 

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