Saturday, April 02, 2011

Maheneh Yehudah Market: A Snapshot

Imagine: you're in Jerusalem surrounded by people. You've just come from the hottest, most cramped bakery you've ever been in. People were shouting and shoving, the cashiers were grabbing pastries so fast you couldn't see what they were, and you couldn't help but notice the mouth-watering aroma of fresh-baked pastry. You grab a few rugalech and hamentaschen, push it toward the counter boy with a few shekels, and walk into the street.

On your way to the covered market area, you take a bite of the sweetest, gooeyest, most melt-in-your mouth piece of rugalech you have ever eaten. Before you can process how this one pastry has changed your life, you gaze around, drinking in the site of nuts, meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables all being pedaled by a shop owner.

"Come get your chicken for Shabbat," one merchant shouts.

"You're with Taglit? Great price," coaxes another.

You walk from under the covered section to the open street and hear the combination of a saxophone and guitar.

"Ah," you think, "that's why people are dancing in the streets." But, the real reason for the dancing is the quick approach of Shabbat, followed by Purim, two joyous holidays!

You turn to walk to a falafel shop for lunch (which turns out to be the most scrumptious falafel you have ever had; so good you could easily imagine being vegetarian if you only had this one falafel stand) and next door you see it. Candy. Sold as casually as nuts, or dried fruit. Gummies in every shape, size, and flavor.

Unable to resist, you rush over, point for a bag and glove, and by the handful load about 1 lb of sugary goodness into the plastic bag. Final price? 8 shekels (about $2.50). Glancing at your watch, you notice that you're late. Your group is waiting at the meeting spot for the bus that will take you back to the hotel to get ready for Shabbat, for the sabbath. You sigh. You could have spent hours, days here, and never gotten tired of the sites, the smells, the people.

But you go. Until next time, Yehudah Market.

**Note: This post is being linked into YellowSongbird's Snapshot Saturday Link-Up.

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