Golden Gate Hostel in Jerusalem’s Old City

Sunday, June 16 11:50pm

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I have an entire six-bed room to myself here in the Old City, in a nice hostel tucked just behind the Damascus Gate. I’m playing Grateful Dead, catching up on emails, and frolicking around. There are no windows, but a large photograph of a Greek Orthodox church is plastered to the far wall. The ceiling is stone, the beds look like those of adorable Christian orphans. It’s warm, but not hot.  I feel a bit displaced, but also content.

I spent today drinking coffee and schlepping around Jerusalem with Matt running errands, finalizing itineraries, and checking out our new digs. We met the people who are subletting to us: really nice Israeli students who are headed to the US to do some adventuring of their own. Our apartment is cute, airy, and tucked away in a flowering alley of Nahlaot: a religious neighborhood that’s become newly trendy in recent years for students and young professionals. Very excited to live there, and get to know a different part of Israel.

Later this week, Matt and I will visit Nablus, and possibly Ramallah. Today, we met with a man named Yehuda HaKohen who believes strongly that Jews and Arabs should have no beef with each other, but rather with capitalist westernizing influences. He’ll be speaking with our students about the one state solution and why he supports it. The students arrive a week from today. I can’t wait to meet them.

Jerusalem definitely feels different from Tel Aviv: more religious, less sexy, and more stone than sand. But I’m keeping my mind open for this new experience, and hoping it brings some beautiful and challenging experiences. Shavua tov l’kulam!

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