Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Making my Way through the Dark

Walking through Tel Aviv in November 2015 a.k.a. Cheshvan-Kislev 5776

Late night in Tel Aviv, the air heavy with jasmine and the grinding of crickets. Ahead of me Orthodox men in black suits and hats. Coming toward me a young man in a sage IDF uniform. On the bike path alongside are people of every age riding every kind of bike: from motorized to one-speeds. I’m following the blue dot on my GPS and heading toward Abraham Lincoln Street, searching for an open-all-night laptop-friendly café. I’ve only got its name written in Hebrew, so maybe I’ll find it and maybe I won’t.

Israel is under siege, but I'm still walking through the night as I often do. I'm alone and surrouded by dark and trying to figure out WTF is going on. I'm under the illusion that if iI walk and think long enough, I might understand. According to, there were 620 terror attacks perpetuated by Arabs against mostly-Jewish Israelis in October. Want a breakdown? That's 483 firebombs, 57 IEDs (pipe bombs and grenades), 42 stabbings, 28 small arms shootings, five rockets, three car-ramming attacks, one attack using a gas canister and one attack using an anti-tank missile. 

My fellow Americans, you have no idea. If you want the truth and you want it from a non-Israeli source, at least check out the French-Canadian Arab writer, Fred Moroun, and the Palestinian Human Rights Activist, Bassem Eid. 

I go right and left, forwards and back, holding my phone before me like a beacon in that new, stumbling forward fashion we have. I reach my destination, the English name is Cafe Tachtit. The maitre d' good-naturedly touches my arm in welcome. A waitress asks how long I've been in Israel. I sit. I start streaming San Francisco Bay Area radio, KQED, and listen to Michael Krasny talking about good new books. I order a salad and a fig vodka. I sit with my back to the door. Got denial?

This is what a "steak salad" looks like in Israel - mushrooms and roasted fennel, with sweet potato frizzle fries sprinkled on top.

I finish my fabulous dinner.
I write for a while.
On my way home, I decide to wing it. I put my GPS away. Again I walk alone through the dark.
Inside Cafe Tachlit, 9 Abraham Lincoln Street in Tel Aviv, Israel

Stacey Filak Such a frightening situation for all those who live there. Thank you for showing the beauty that endures, and also the news sources. Stunningly moving piece.
Marilyn G Scarl Oh, Sari. We're never told about all the mouth hangs agape at the numbers you reported. And, who, in this world, except many -- def NOT all Jews, really care while secretly smiling in their innards. You're very brave young lady. Of cour...See More
Marilyn G Scarl Your post must be shared with every Jewish group here on fb. I don't want to do any repeats of where you might've posted, but I'll be glad to share with those groups of which you may not be a member. Let me know.
Sari Friedman Please share wherever and however you want, Marilyn G Scarl. I appreciate your doing this. I really want the truth revealed. I feel so helpless when I see the grotesque inaccuracies in the press.
Sari Friedman
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Debbie Percelay I shared this with my friends Sari. What a heavy heart I have reading this. I know the news I see is not the 'real' news and I try to read Israeli sourced news but seeing the numbers (lives represented by numbers) here broken down as you did is simply mind numbing. Stay safe and know you've got prayers from Napa!
Katherine J. Harine Thank you for these wonderful words, Sariheart emoticon
Ann Cupolo Freeman You're right. We don't hear about these attacks. Please be safe.
Ellie Libitzky Caruso The truth needs to be revealed. I never realized how much Americans don't know or don't care what's going on in Israel until after the Paris attacks. People had no clue what was happening in Israel every single day. Thanks for posting this Sari. I hear from Paul often and he fills me in on what the news chooses not to.
Eileen Malone Yes, keep posting Sari, please.
Anne Maxson Please keep your post Going,Its a taste Of Home,Tachtit means Underneath something.
Liz Fleiss I love the Tachtit. I love walking alone thru TLV any time of the day or nite. Of late I do watch my back while walking. And when a young Muslim woman boards the bus I'm on I eyeball her till I get off. I crazily and courageously walk by Arabs at building sites. This is my home.
Maria Stiltz So cry emoticon to read . Keep safe and not be so brave..
Julie Justin Beautiful! Thank you for taking us with you on your journey with words. Fig vodka- wow! smile emoticon
Deborah Birman Shlider Sari you are brave and so right ! I've been living here forever and I could never be as brave as you are ; living here means bring scared twice : scared of fear ,and scared of exposing that fear to others. Keep on writing , bringing this experience to people living here and elsewhere .Thanks
Chana Engel Very scary.. be safe. ..
Linda Bordy As an American I care!
Want to hear the truth!
Thank you Sari !...See More

Helène Eisenberg Always a pleasure to read you, to wander with you through the night.
Hillary Homzie Thank you for writing about what you are seeing and feeling. I'm grateful!
Don Tynan Do you have an understanding of the cause of the violence?
Deborah Birman Shlider Frustration ,Baseless hatred and political incitement
Sari Friedman Debbie is correct.
Sari Friedman
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Charles Friedman Be careful. Be safe.
Lisa Boshnack Be safe and walk with someone. Be careful
Did I tell you Friedman was my maiden name.

Melissa Mirenda Klein Please be safe my family from afar heart emoticon My prayers are with you .
Don Tynan a few years ago i read a book about Saudi Arabia, and the other Arab nations. In the book the author mentioned that Arab women have on average nine to thirteen ofspring each. Could this be a part of the problem?
Michael Rubin Come June, we'll have to have some Turkish coffee smile emoticon
Sari Friedman You're on ☕️
Sari Friedman
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Lily Zajc Love your updates - horrifying statistics and encouraging that you are living your life as you please, mostly. Please be careful and stay safe.
Sari Friedman

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Hans York wonderful writing, Sari. Stay safe!
Don Tynan Young Sari found herself mysteriously drawn to Israel, a nation on fire. For reasons beyond explanation, she fell in love with this land the heart-root of her people. But the forces of good and evil, determined to fulfill ancient prophecy, have turned ...See More
Don Tynan Fifteen people were executed by muslim extremists in America today. A sad reminder that evil pays no heed to borders. We shed tears amid our anger, and you will have to excuse me if I say that terrorism is a step too far--regardless of where it happens. I sense a change is coming. Living in fear is a rediculous choice. We only had to remember that.
Ned Zoller We dont have any of that junk here in Ashkelon. Thank God. It is so beautiful and peaceful here. I will never move out of Ashkelon except to maybe a Mushav. I have been here 4 months, and have a nice Apt., and a beautiful view off the balcony of the se...See More