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.
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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.
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Once out, I stopped by a coffee shop packed with Muslim men. If I can’t pray like a Muslim, let me at least drink like a Muslim, I thought. I drank one cup of coffee after another, and in the end, nature called.

I asked the waiter for directions to the men’s room.

“Are you Muslim?” he asked.

“Yes, I am, by Allah!” I said. I seemed to be declaring my Islamic faith today more that the most devoted of Talibans in Afghanistan.

“Go to Al-Aqsa,” I was told.

I was there, I said, but the Jewish police thought that I was only half a Muslim and they got on my nerves.

“Show them your passport.”

“I don’t have it on me.”

“Then you have to go to the Jewish Wall.”

I had said I was a born-again Muslim, but still, apparently I had to urinate with the Jews. What a curse!

I walked out of the coffee house in the direction of the Jewish Wall, and I saw Arabic graffiti on a wall outside the coffee shop: “Soon Al-Quds will be free!”

“Al-Quds,” the holy, is Jerusalem. “Free” means free of Jews.

I wonder if they were talking about me.

Tuvia Tenenbom, founder of the Jewish Theater of New York, is the author of the best-selling book “I Sleep in Hitler’s Room: An American Jew Visits Germany.” He is currently in Israel where he is working on the follow-up, tentatively titled “Alone Among Jews.”


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