Why “Love Actually” Makes Me Happy that I Live in Jerusalem

Jerusalem’S Festival Week


I was sitting in a cafe, tucked into the basement of a New York brownstone, after an afternoon of ogling madonnas at the Met with a friend who used to run an art gallery in Soho, when it happened:

"So you work in Jerusalem "culture"".

Those air-quotes, carefully crafted by deft fingers stained with the steam rising from our lattes, cut into my heart.

I'm going to be honest: Moving to Jerusalem from New York was an adjustment.

I cried when I realized I was going to miss Jordi Savall’s musical history of Venice at Carnegie Hall. Sometimes, while walking to work, I curse the sidewalks for being too narrow.

But I love Jerusalem’s quirkiness. I love that it has concerts dedicated to the soundtrack of avant-garde documentaries about Tel Aviv street cats, and Arabic-Hebrew jam sessions. I love the people of Jerusalem, from all walks of life, who choose to become a part of this city’s 2,000 years of history.

That's why I was so excited when I saw that there's a series of screenings of “Love Actually”, accompanied by live orchestra music, across the UK this December.

No, it’s not the sight of Hugh Grant’s baby blue eyes, or the incredibly corny airport scene, that has me excited.

You see, this series of screenings is a vindication of my decision to move to Jerusalem!

During the Jerusalem Film Festival, Salamanca put on a screening of “The Dybuk”, a 1930s Yiddish horror film, accompanied by a live orchestra, in Hansen House – a former lepers’ hospital.

And, putting on a screening of a 1930s horror movie in a language nearly decimated by genocide in a former lepers’ hospital is way cooler than putting on a contemporary B-class comedy in the language of Western imperialism in a movie theater.

So Jerusalem already did it, but better!

This is a contemporary example of the famous saying, “Wisdom will come forth for Jerusalem”.

So, to my New York friend who smirked at me over coffee:

Just remember: The Western Wall is older than the Temple of Dendur – I think.

To all my readers: Wishing you a shana tova – a year full of love, art, and happiness, no matter where you are, with just the right amount of smirking, lots of friendship, and too much coffee.