Did I ever mention how beautiful it is in Jerusalem after dark? Tonight I worked until 8:45. When I walked out of the building, there was a wonderfully cool breeze blowing. Walking through the back streets of Bais Yisroel, a pretty hareidi (religious) neighborhood, I saw many people out in the streets: groups of girls with their heads bent together, giggling and talking as they walked; young men and boys striding purposefully, husbands sitting or standing outside their back doors speaking loudly into their cell phones as their arms gesticulated wildly; young mothers pushing baby strollers, pre-adolescents playing on the sidewalks. As I wound my way onto the bustling street of Shmuel Hanavi, I saw that many of the shops along the street were still open for business at this late hour. Some were closing up, but the aromas of falafel and pizza from every third doorway was still in the air. Here, too, the sidewalks were bustling with people and there was a constant stream of traffic in both directions.
I approached a bus stop where I frequently wait for a connecting bus to the one that will take me home. Normally, in the heat of the day I wait fruitlessly for a #2 or a #10 that never come in time to get me to where I need to go when I need to get there. This time, however, the #10 pulled up just as I was sauntering past. Even though I knew my bus home wouldn't be leaving the takanah merkazit until 9:15 and would take at least ten minutes to get to the bus stop I would be waiting at, I still jumped on the #10 and arrived at my destination two minutes later. Taking a chance, I called David at home and asked him to look up the bus schedule for me. I knew that they had changed some of the times and added more frequent bus service recently and Baruch Hashem! A 9 PM bus had been added. Within a few minutes a nearly empty 143 pulled up to take me home.
Once we get past the machson (checkpoint) at Pisgat Ze'ev, the driver turns off the inner lights of the bus, and once again I marvel at the clear, starry skies (that we have every single night from early Spring until late Autumn). There are so many sparkling lights from the different communities on all the hilltops as we wend our way home. It's hard to believe that so many people live out here in the desert hills north of Yerushalayim. Wherever I might be living in this Land, I will always believe that it's the most beautiful place in the world. And I will always be grateful to my Creator for blessing me with the schus (merit) to live here.