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October 4, 2015 | 21st Tishrei 5776

Cafe Moment

By Rabbi Zoe Klein

One of the bombings in Jerusalem
took place in Café Capit,
and one of the bombings
took place in Café Moment.
I have only lived in Israel for two years,
what do I know of the land?
I didn't pay taxes and have a full-time job.
I was a student.
What right do I have to think of it as home?
And yet, I remember Café Capit.
I always ordered te im nana,
tea with sweet sweet mint,
with brown sugar,
sometimes I would meet a friend
and we would share a giant salad
with fresh olives
and crumbled goat cheese,
and sit under the umbrellas on the terrace
with our bookbags at our sides
watching the passersby on the street.
I remember the ivy and the perfume of the rosemary garden
and the hurried waitress with her black apron
and the time we all went there after Shabbat had ended
and on the sidewalk a guitarist strummed out a sweet melody
and we all ate cheese toast with zhatar and
felt at peace.
And I know I wasn't born in Israel,
only spent a fraction of my life there
although the majority of my life I spend thinking about her,
what right do I have to think of it as home?
And yet, I remember Café Moment,
with its giant ice cream sundaes
and chocolat cham im ketzefet,
hot chocolate with whipped cream,
grilled vegetable platters,
sometimes I would meet friends there
and sit under the umbrellas on the terrace
or if it was chilly,
just inside behind the plate glass,
studying or gossiping.
I remember the amber light
and the woman with the brown shirt behind the cash register
and the cobblestones just outside,
and the souvenir shop across the street,
and I remember the evening I sat there with Jonathan
and he excused himself
and went to the corner
to call my father from a payphone
to ask him for permission
to ask my hand in marriage,
and how he came back to our little round table smiling,
but not revealing what little conspiracy he
had just planned.
I know I haven't made aliyah
and I've lived in Israel only two years
but I love her
Yerushalayim Shel Zahav,
Jerusalem of Gold,
and I pray for her healing,
and the healing of all her children
sipping their tea and tapping their spoons
in her cafés,
I pray for the healing of all her wounded,
just as we pray for
all those in our community who are in need
of healing...
(Rabbi Zoë Klein)


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