By Sharon Szmuc
On a Tuesday night, I found myself at pub Sira, my friend and I entering not knowing what exactly we were getting ourselves into. The walls are graffiti–giving you that artsy hipster vibe–and sections of the bar are split into rooms where groups of friends from around the world gather together, drinking and smoking cigarettes as they communicate in several languages. No one was really dancing, because this bar was not about listening to the alternative music the DJ was playing, but more about unplugging yourself from the chaos of the workday. The bartender also takes orders from a small window leading to the outside and gives you the option to either enjoy the music and sound of conversation, or to enjoy the cool air of a summer night in Jerusalem.
When I visit these bars I love to ask the locals: Why should one move to Jerusalem? I didn’t think I would find this answer from a Jerusalemite bartender and his girlfriend, Lucia who migrated from Spain three years ago. Once I mentioned I am originally Argentinean our small conversation in Spanish soon led to a two hour talk on soccer and an answer to my intriguing question. Lucia and her boyfriend Dan told me the reason Jerusalem is home is not only because it is where their friends are, but it’s the comfort that the city offers. Lucia says she just casually throws on a t-shirt and jeans wearing no makeup, and is still able to sit at a local bar without being judged for being herself. They continued to explain that Jerusalem, with all its cultural complications is a place that if one finds the right bars and places to eat, one has creative freedom and independence. So on a Tuesday night, in pub Sira sat an American, an Israeli, an Argentinean and Spaniard all drinking Goldstar beer sharing one thing in common—a love for Jerusalem and proof that this city welcomes you always. After some Tequila shots on the house, Lucia greeted us with two kisses on the cheek and demanded that my friend and I return back every Tuesday to Sira!
The night wasn’t over yet, when we crossed to the left corner of the street, we found ourselves at Hummus Ben Sira. A place where locals go to satisfy their hungry stomachs after a night drinking, and for only fifteen shekels, one can try one of the best Hummus places in Jerusalem, along with Falafel and Sabich. I went from speaking Spanish in a bar to a restaurant that doesn’t close until 2 a.m. engaging in conversation with British 20-somethings, and Jerusalem had become in my eyes a place where people from different parts of the world help make this city their home together.
Sharon Szmuc, our fabulous summer intern, is a fourth-year at Florida State University studying Creative Writing and Communications. In the fall she will start writing for Her Campus, an online magazine for US college students.