About me: Jerusalem

After a year in the Negev, I decided to try my luck in Jerusalem as an Education Student at Hebrew Union College.  I did my first year of a three-year Masters program in Jewish Education.    It wasn’t an easy ride, but thankfully I was blessed by those who surrounded me.  I moved to Jerusalem from Yerukham and it was a complete shock.  I went from the arid, dry desert to cold, mountainous hills.  I went from a small non-English speaking town to a large city with many native English speakers.  I went from a traditional Morrocan/Mitzrachit (Eastern) culture, to a multicultural mainstream (more European) Israeli culture.  More challenging than any of that, was that I was broke, completely broke!  Right when I arrived to Jerusalem I had found out that my identity was stolen by an illegal immigrant in the US and I “owed” $30,000 of unpaid taxes to the IRS.  They put a lean against my social security number, so I had no access to my student loans, bank accounts, etc…  I didn’t even have money for a plane ticket home.  So I couch surfed with my classmates for my first semester in graduate school.  When it seemed like nothing was going to work and I had no choice but to cash in my cards, I was given an opportunity to cook and clean for an older Australian woman in exchange for a place to sleep.  She lived in Mekor Chai’im (Sourse of life) a neighborhood on the south side of the city, next to Talpi’ot. I had a small budget that allowed me to afford  minimal food: rice, veggies and a small piece of cheese, and if I was lucky smoked fish, a push card for 10 bus rides and one putting a month (bar, nightclub, etc).   So I walked to school, 45 minutes one way, up and down hill and came home to do 2-3 hours of work around the house, plus homework.  But I did so I could stay in school and finish my year, against all odds.  I met an Israeli man named Tike who lived in Petach Tikvah, and during my second semester, he became my get-away and replenished my soul after a long hard week of work.  Somehow I survived and my writing tells the story.


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