A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Temple Mount

Author Finds It Hard To Conceal His Jewishness

Occupying His Territory: Tuvia Tenenbom makes his way back from the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Getty Images
Occupying His Territory: Tuvia Tenenbom makes his way back from the Al-Aqsa mosque.

By Tuvia Tenenbom

Published November 11, 2013, issue of November 15, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 4)

This should have satisfied the gun holder, but the problem is that cops are no imams, and religious law is not their domain. “Say the Fatiha,” the cop barked at me.

It’s been a long time since I studied Islam, and I didn’t exactly remember, beyond the very beginning.

I tried nevertheless. I said, “Bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim, al-hamdu lillahi rabil alameen” [“In the name of Allah, the compassionate and merciful, praise be to Allah, lord of the worlds’].

Should be good, I thought. But the cop said, “Continue!”

Who did he think he was? Why should I pray to him?

I didn’t, and he talked to his colleague, discussing why I was behaving so strangely. They talked and talked, and finally they decided: “You are Christian. No entry.”

But I wanted to pray, I said.

Well, they argued, if I wanted to pray that much, I should enter the mosque via the Jew and Christian entrance. But the Infidels’ entrance, I protested, was closing at 11:00 a.m., in 55 minutes. The cops were not impressed. The walk is only 29 minutes from here, one of them said, and he pointed at the road I should take.

I looked at the name of the road. Via Dolorosa. I was to walk the way of that old Jew, Jesus Christ. Not easy to be a true Muslim.

I walked and walked and walked. Soon 29 minutes had passed, and no infidels’ entry in sight.

I spotted another entrance, for Muslims only, several feet away. I swore my allegiance to the Prophet, loud enough for the Israeli prime minister in west Jerusalem to hear me, but the cop at the entrance was obviously deaf, yelling at me, “Fatiha!”

Again!

I tried once more, reciting the beginning of it quickly, the way some Hasidic Jews do in synagogues when they recite loudly just the beginning of prayers, only this new cop didn’t know from Hasidic Jews. He said, “Don’t stop, continue!”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.