These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

questions and answers

Posted on December 24, 2012 by Shoshana Rosen

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Originally posted on my blog on Oct. 30, 2012:

What am I even doing in Israel? What am I doing next year? What brings me joy? Meaning?

At some point, you have to stop running away from these questions. The answer will not come without giving it space to be nurtured.

Today was the first day of my new journey. As a walked out on the strong sun, my first thought was, its too sunny to walk a lot, maybe I should just go back to my apartment. (for some reason now in Jerusalem we going through some unusual heat wave for this time of year)—as my hometown of New York City is under water

But I realized that was my fear talking. SO I continued.

I take the bus to the center of town, to try to find a piercing place called Tattoo that my friends told me about. But what I realized was that their directions were no help at all. “its by a street called Hillel “(there are 5 different streets in that neighborhood with part of the name as hillel. “its by an Aroma, and café Hillel” (aroma and café hillel is like saying its by a Starbucks and Duane Reade in New York City, aka they are all over the place)

After about an hour of walking around I found it. I walk into the sketchy place and I am trying to pick out a earring when they tell me they have no more gold, or silver just weird rainbow colors. Well because I am not 16, I thought the multi color rainbow was too much and I left.   I continued walking, I realize how glad I am that I didn’t get my cartilage re-pierced. I am on a new journey, moving forward so here I go.

I continued to walk, stopping in one of my favorite coffee shops café Kadosh, where I get a cappuccino and a big salad.

It gets dark and I continue walking home. On the way home I pass by a gallery I have never seen before. After reading a little bio about the art, in the window I decide to step in. I look at the beautiful paintings of Jerusalem.  The guy working there asked me how I was doing, I said good and continued to look at the paintings (I will translate the conversation, because we were talking in Hebrew) He says, you’re an artist right? I look at him, no, why? He said something about your energy, the way you really look at the paintings. I smiled. Well then we started talking and I find out, he doesn’t just work there but created these paintings. Yonatan, or Jonathan Kis-Lev.

We talked about Jerusalem, his paintings. How he draws Jerusalem, and Israel in a Naïve style, using some gold and lots of color. But something stands out about his paintings, he doesn’t start his paintings on a white canvas. He first paints the canvas over in black. And then uses lots of paint to add color. I ask why he paints on a black surface and he says “because it is more powerful when color comes from the depths of black”  I nod, because I know it is true.

He talks about his kibbutz that he lives in and we connect. He leaves me with a blessing. And a note.  He holds his right hand over his heart, and says, please come back, I want to hear all about your continuing journey.  I walk away, and say, see you soon, at the kind artist with dreads.

 “To Shoshana, In love, Yohnatan”

I leave the gallery with the biggest smile on my face. This is exactly where I need to be right now. Here, walking the streets of Jerusalem.  Talking, connecting to people. Being with myself, listening to my heart, soul, mind, and body and hopefully creating some unity.  I don’t know how long I will be walking, three days or three months but this is where I am right now.

I continue with my long walk home thinking of one of Rav Kooks poems.

The Clarity Of The Land Of Israel
My heart yearns for the clarity of the land of Israel,
For the faith of the land of Israel,
For the holiness of the land of Israel.

Where can I find the joy of the land of Israel,
The inner calm of the land of Israel,
The closeness to the Divine of the land of Israel,
The truth of the land of Israel,
The might and power of the land of Israel,
The trust of the land of Israel?