Reunited at long last with my dearest friend, we rode along the road, heading away from Ben Gurion Airport, and, towards the city of Jerusalem. I sat, observing vast land, with a smattering of buildings, and a striking church. I later learned that that church was the Church of All Nations, where Jesus is believed to have prayed, near the Mount of Olives. As we moved along, she encouraged her children, aged 5 & 7, to sing, for me, traditional Jewish children’s songs: “Yerushalem, Yerushalem” sounded, somewhat, like a prayer.
The road from Ben Gurion is paved with meleke, a type of limestone, otherwise referred to as, “Jerusalem stone”. Not literally.
The roads are made of tar. The Jerusalem stone, which is extracted from quarries in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, does comprise many of the buildings in its namesake though. And, as my friend would explain, its prevalence helps to maintain the authenticity of the Old City for the Jewish Israelis, at least those Jews recognized by the State of Israel as such. For when you travel outside of Jerusalem, for example, to Dimona where many so-called black Hebrews live, there is no Jerusalem stone. No Southern Wall to rival the Western Wall (also called the Wailing Wall). There may, however, be wailing in Dimona (to be addressed, perhaps, in a later post).
The trip through Jerusalem to Talpiot, the neighborhood in which my friend, who I stayed with, and her family reside, was unremarkable, except for (1) the views; and (2) an exchange between my friend and the taxi driver, who could not resist complimenting my friend -" a black non-Jewish American by birth- on the fact that she speaks Hebrew “very niiiice” and “clean,” unlike most Americans.