Friday, March 15, 2013

Nayot Park

On Friday night after dinner, Raphaela had energy to burn;  since it was still so warm outside, I took her for a walk and we ended up at the park near our house.  Unfortunately, the Municipality of Jerusalem has not invested sufficiently in the lighting of the area, and as it got darker, Raphaela hit her head against one of the metal beams of the climbing facility.  There was blood and bruising, and I picked her with the intention of rushing her home to better examine the injury.

(In the pitch dark, with a small flash light...) An Arab family had set up a small barbecue at one of the picnic tables nearby, and they invited the two of us to sit with them while Raphaela applied some ice to her nose.  Their hospitality did not end there, they also gave the two of us drinks and began to insist that we share their feast with them.

I politely declined, stating that we had already eaten and that I really wanted to get Raphaela home to see if we needed to get to the Emergency Room.  They understood, and as we started walking slowly, one of the women came over to me and gave me two pita sandwiches, with humus and hamburgers, "for the road."

(I do love and respect the gift of food they offered, though in the end we did not eat it for my own reasons of Kosher.)

I thanked her profusely for her generosity, and felt humbled by the experience; it reminded me that above and beyond all the boxes in which we put ourselves, our Jewish neighbors and our Arab cousins, behind all the politics stands real families with simple aspirations.  Some of them are in fact kind people who simply want to make a decent living and support their family, have a nice meal and watch their kids play in the park on a warm night in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, we arrived home and I managed to stop the bleeding, I purposely put Raphaela in my bed and did not sleep all night, listening to her breathe and making sure there were no immediate and serious complications from her wounds.  First thing tomorrow morning I plan on calling the Municipality and giving them an earful.  It is absolutely irresponsible to not provide lighting in a public park - said the paranoid New Yorker with memories of Central Park - not only for the children but also for the adult runners like me who use that pathway at all hours of the morning and evening.  If our taxes don't contribute to citizens' safety, where is the money going?

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