Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Returning to "Old Haunts"

Two days in a row, I found myself back in places I hadn't been for awhile.  In one case, it has been a few years and the other just a few months.  The second was well-planned and eagerly anticipated, but the first was totally unexpected, a real surprise.

This week's death of the former Rishon Letzion, Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, RaRav Ovadia Yosef has made the traffic going in and out of his neighborhood, Har Nof, very difficult, since many people, especially the Prime Minister want to comfort the family.  I davka had a dentist appointment in the neighborhood just when it was closed to traffic from Givat Shaul, which caused quite a lot of difficulties reported in  Only in Israel: A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Dentist.  So when I was offered a tremp out in the direction of Pisgat Zeev, I very gratefully accepted it. 

It wasn't quite clear where I'd be dropped off, but I know the area well enough to quickly figure out multiple options. I ended up at the "old trempiada," which I hadn't been to as a trempistit aka female hitchhiker since the buses began taking the bridge and bypassing it.  I have only passed it as a passenger in a car.  It's usually pretty crowded, as it was yesterday when I found myself waiting with a couple of dozen, angry, impatient people.  There weren't many rides.  I could see that there was a bus stop for the #8 bus to Pisgat Ze'ev and hoped that it wasn't an illusion.  I like to have backup plans when tremping.  I don't count on getting a ride.  If I hadn't seen the bus stop I would have gone around the corner to the Givat Hamivtar/Givat Tzarfatit/French Hill stop on the train and take it to the less popular replacement trempiada, in Pisgat Ze'ev.  I waited a good few minutes and decided to give myself just one more minute, and if neither bus nor tremp arrived, I'd take the train, even though from there the train's route is about three times the distance.  Just then an old friend came by.  She could only take me as far as the "city line," the border between Jerusalem Mateh Binyamin, which was fine.  What wasn't fine was that another person waiting became very nasty because he had waited more.  My friend invited me.  It's her choice.  She's the driver and she has the right to choose her passengers.  It's a no-brainer that she preferred a female friend next to her and not a strange snarling man.  We had a nice time catching up, and she mentioned that a neighbor of mine was probably nearby in her car.  I didn't want to call the neighbor and bother her, so I said:
"If she's behind us, she'll pick me up at the machsom, city line."

In one of those crazy little surprises, she didn't pick me up, but a different member of her family did.

The trempiada, strangely empty

I just want to make it clear that this "old trempiada" isn't the old, original one.  It was the new one just seventeen years ago.  The old one is in the direction of Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods, Beit Chanina and Shuafat.  It goes straight to Ramallah. Yes, our buses to Shiloh, Beit El, Ofra,  and the Shomron all used to go through Ramallah.  It was at that original trempiada  where I was injured in a terror attack.  An Arab terrorist drove onto the sidewalk, made a turn on my left foot and mowed down over a dozen people who had been waiting for buses and rides.  One woman was killed in that attack, and the police tried to prove it an "accident."  The late David Bar Illan, who had been the Editor in Chief of the Jerusalem Post at the time, gave my story proving it a deliberate attack a lot of column inches, interviewing me, and editorial and having me write an op-ed.

At this newer old trempiada there were a number of other terror attacks.  One resulted in the death of many including a neighbor, and the granddaughter of another neighbor.  Many were seriously injured including some I know personally. 

Today I passed by it on the #8 bus.  I was curious to see if the bus really stopped there.  It does, which is good to know.  That's when I took that picture.

And the other old haunt I revisited is Matan.  Classes resumed this week.  This was something I had been waiting for all summer.  As you can see from the crowd in the full auditorium, I wasn't alone feeling like that.

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