By Ariel Arnovitz Markose
When getting into the Israel conversation or even the bigger Jewish people conversation, a lot of major issues arise. The Iranian threat, BDS, assimilation — the list goes on.
Jerusalem also comes up in this lineup of issues. What you normally hear about is whether the city should be divided between the Arabs and the Jews, the most recent round of violence, the lack of religious freedom, and conflicts on the Temple Mount.
What you don’t hear about is the steady revival of a city that, after the terrorism of the Second Intifada, people had given up on. You don’t hear about the very engaged, active and involved civil society that is changing the face of the city. You don’t hear about the power given to the young adults to effect positive change — the deputy mayor is 31 years old.
You don’t hear about a battle that is being won.
I got involved in New Spirit when my husband and I moved back to Jerusalem from Herzliya a little over two years ago.
I was immediately drawn to this fast-moving and innovative organization, which addressed problems from the ground up and used and empowered local talent to make a difference. An organization with no political agenda, with a simple desire to take a city so important to Israel and to the Jewish people and turn it into a thriving and vibrant capital city. An organization constantly reinventing itself, going from challenge to challenge, as it makes waves in a complicated yet exciting city.
Jerusalem is not a simple place to live, raise a family or make a living, but it is a place the Jewish people have yearned for and vowed to return to for thousands of years. It is not a place we ever gave up on.
So despite the conflicts and the protests and the rounds of violence, there is something positive bubbling up from the ground, from thousands of engaged young people who are redefining their own reality to create a capital city they and the rest of the Jewish and Israeli people can be proud of.
Atlanta native Ariel Arnovitz Markose is the director of communications and resource development for New Spirit (new-spirit.org.il/en).