Max went to Africa today, so we had another long weekend hafla all together in Jerusalem. The community that's grown together that I've been a part of this last year has been so amazing. There's really no other way to describe it. We came together last fall at the rainbow gathering, some people we'd known before, some friends of friends, lots of travelers and passers-by, a new generation taking over Nahlaot in Jerusalem, its narrow stone alleyways and cave-like houses, its teachers and its laundromats. It's a transient community of people who touch down on each other for a few weeks or months or years, then stay or go, and find a path. I spend almost every weekend with these people and these places. Its a big part of home.
The apartment where yoni lis used to live and then hillel moved in with ami and the other ami and then max when hillel left is the hub. At least it was before the lice, and now Max is gone, but the energy is still there. It's the door in the middle of Nahlaot's main 'street' that's literally almost always open and inside there's an extra person sleeping and so many more eating or cooking or playing music. Adina, the Queen of Nahlaot, singing and whimpering and giggling, and someone walking her home, and Ezra mopping and laughing, and Ami making chai or cooking or eating or learning or playing guitar, Devora smiling, and Max moving to rythm, barefoot,and then Jackie, and Elisha somewhere, and Meir Chaim somewhere, and eveyone stopping in or staying. Then there's the anonymous guy sitting cross-legged on the bench on Be'er Sheva who tells you to look above the door for the key when you were looking nonchalantly in the tree, and the tourists.
Both of my mother's brothers and their wives and kids live in Nahlaot, in the same Nahlaot but more settled and less touched by fairydust. My sister also lives there, with her husband, but they've been in India for the last few months. During the winter, I was in Jerusalem at least three days a week. Now that it's summer, it feels even more like a utopic shtetl, the center of the world, from a certain angle.
Ironically, the only thing weakening paradise is the product of its creation, its transience. That is its beating heart, its allure, its rejuvenating character. For the last half year, everything fit into place. Two of my oldest friends, and a good friend of one of them, and that new friend's girlfriend, and then another of their friends who ended up with the female of my two oldest friends, and a new friend who I grew up with, and an old sporadic friend, and others who I'd mention but this sentence is too long, and the tel aviv family, became my closest. And there were always more people around. And there has always been food, and a place to stay, and someone to talk to, and freedom and flow and comfort. Sometimes we go to the woods or to a festival or to a farm and sometimes we spill onto someone else's house.
It's like college or camp but more ambiguous. Everyone is doing something similar and everyone is doing something different, and some of us work, and some don't, but it works, and we're family, and people leave and new people come and some people stay and become the world to each other. Already people are going, and still in a few weeks or months, and again next year. It feels like everything is on the brink of change, but it's always been changing. When Max left he told me that I was the mama and had to hold down the fort. There are other mamas around, and more will be back at some point, and then I'll be gone, and then a new generation.