Love is in the air – Tu B’Av

It’s today!  For lack of a better reference, Tu B’Av is Jewish Valentine’s Day.  The name is simply the date (tet vav = ט’ו = 15, pronounced too; Av is the Hebrew month).  It’s actually much older than Valentine’s Day and is shrouded in mystery, apparently.  In the olden days – the Second Temple Period – unmarried women in borrowed white dresses would go out to the fields and dance under the full moon of the 15th of Av.  Unmarried men would go out and choose a bride.  The borrowed white dresses ensured a level playing field for the women and men chose their brides based on personality rather than status.

Today, Israel has borrowed the romantic ideas of Valentine’s Day in the US, so chocolates are flying off the shelves and flowers are sold by the ton.  It’s considered a great day to get married, so venues are booked far in advance.

In a previous post, I wrote about Jerusalem’s Love Map .  Checking it again today, there are many more hearts and stories.

Jerusalem map

And since no one else in the world can see our special Google Doodle, here are some images (though they are actually tiny romantic animations).

doodle 2Doodledoodle 3

I’m compelled to share one hilarious element of the Google Doodle.  They spelled the holiday wrong.  When you click on it to get more information, the first site is the Google Doodle site, everything else is related to the show Ab Fab or it has to do with abdominal exercises. So if you want to find out more about Jewish Valentine’s Day, don’t be Google and spell it To Be’Ab, spell it Tu B’Av and get the right search results.

And finally, I leave you with the song that inspired the title, from one of the best movies ever, Strictly Ballroom.  Remember, a life lived in fear is a life half-lived!

Move over Paris, Jerusalem is the City of Love

In the evening I opened the window to let in some fresh air after sitting in air conditioning all day.  Suddenly I heard loud buzzing and gargantuan hornets were flying around trying to get in my window.  I ran around screaming and waving my arms.  After pulling myself together I leapt to the window and shut it.  Looking out the window, I saw that there is a hornets’ nest inside my neighbor’s wall.  Yikes!  I’m keeping my window closed for now!

This little story is a metaphor for how I feel about the news in the last few weeks.  So after running around, screaming, and waving my arms, I’m shutting my metaphorical window on the news and am going to write about something else entirely. Something nice.

In a few weeks, we are going to be having a holiday of love called Tu B’Av.  It’s not exactly the commercialized Valentine’s Day of the US, but it has some similarities.  In preparation, the city of Jerusalem launched a website allowing people to pin hearts to a map of Jerusalem and tell their love story.  (I’m giving the whole link because I like the name of the site:

love map

The various shades of pink and red reflect different kinds of stories: first meeting, first date, marriage proposal, perfect date, and, in a twist on romance, the last kiss.

I clicked through some of the stories and here are two that I liked.

Think romance is dead?  Not here.


By E. and R.

In summer 2010, I was a little wobbly after leaving a Jerusalem bar and saw a woman sitting on the sidewalk with her friends.  I talked to her and pestered her a little and went on my way.  After 50 meters, thanks to a little liquid courage in my veins, I turned back to ask for her phone number.  At the end of February 2013, I came back with the same girl and asked her to be with me forever.  She agreed.  We’re married and happy for the past three years.

love story

And then there is the humorous.

First meeting

By Anonymous

Unbelievably, we met in a car accident on the Begin Highway.  My car was a total loss and was not drivable.  She drove me home after we exchanged information.  I did not have the heart to sue for an insurance claim, but used her number to invite her on a date.  We’re happily married today and laugh when we pass by the garage.

car accident

I think this idea is marvelous.  It’s cutting edge and a fabulous use of social media.  (Have I mentioned recently how much I like our mayor?)  All the citizens of Jerusalem are thinking about love stories instead of violence and attacks.  Jerusalem can be the city of love; we just have to get together and make it so.