As the loud siren blares out, announcing the Shabbat has begun in the city center of Jerusalem, I watch the street from my balcony as my cat and I take in the smells and sights of a city unwinding – two Orthodox guys with a bottle of wine, an old lady with a raspy cigarette voice chatting with acquaintances, and the irritating ‘zoom’ of a motorcycle.
I just moved apartments, my life is in boxes, and my new neighbor in the adjacent building casually invites me to a Sabbath meal as I hang my laundry on the balcony, shamelessly dressed in pajamas.
In the family-oriented neighborhood of Nachlaot, balconies, pets and food bring people together. Neighbors invite neighbors, and if you’re stranded without plans, it’s not uncommon to ask on the community Facebook group if someone is willing to host you for dinner.
I nervously arrive with a dish of grilled vegetables to discover they were all praying at the synagogue, and I’m ‘stuck’ with the one guy who stayed behind. Between his smoking weed on the balcony and...
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