Last month, as I walked with my friends and colleagues through Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek and Neveh Shaanan neighbourhoods – magnets for migrant workers, transient populations, and some of the most challenging social conditions in Israel – I noticed a peculiar sight. On a wall, just ahead, was the most unusual piece of graffiti I had ever seen. Couched within a gritty streetscape was an image of that most holy of Jewish artifacts, the Ark of the Covenant.
On that street corner I saw articulated in spray paint what Israel is challenged by every day: The intersection of the sacred and the profane; the connection between the most high and the lowest depths; the call to the Jewish people’s great capacity for good, and the conflicts that can drain all aspiration in a struggle to simply survive. [Read more…]