By Eliana Rudee, Originally published in JNS.org
The first time I was in Jerusalem for New Year’s Eve, it was 2011/2012 during my college winter break. When the clock struck midnight, a homeless-looking man danced up to me with a big half-toothed smile, open arms, and tried to kiss me. That was the last time I went to that area of town, which is known to be particularly young and touristy.
Last week was my second New Year’s Eve in Jerusalem, and understandably, I was skeptical. The last time I had been here, my group counted down until the New Year on a street filled with bars, but the whole thing was quite anti-climactic compared to what it had been in the States. Back in Seattle, we always went to a New Year’s Eve party, ate fancy appetizers, watched the ball drop, and brought in the New Year with fancy drinks.
So this year, I thought about going to Tel Aviv for New Year’s, but if (when) the night ends late, then I would have to sleep over in Tel Aviv, adding another layer of complexity. So I decided to stay in Jerusalem with my friends, this time lowering my expectations.