• A Different Kav

  • Anagrammer

    July 2, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    It stares me in the face. Literally.

    A big green bus heading in the opposite direction I am, rolling towards me, down Route 9. It’s Motzaei Shabbos; of course buses are running. Except the flashing numbers on the screen on the bus’s forehead read “559”. Who even knows what kav 559 is? I surely never heard of it. Maybe it’s a new kav? Ha, who are you kidding? No new kavs. Okay, okay, but just stop being so realistic for once, and let me dream. It’s a new kav. Why would there be one? Oh, who knows, maybe they needed more Bnei Brak buses ‘cuz all us seminary girls go every week? I don’t know. But the point is, yay! There’s a new kav, 559! Until the English letters light up on the screen. “Atlantic City.” I blink back a tear and my car slows. HONK! My tear freezes, still hovering on the edge my eyelid, and I step on the gas, surge forward. I have to keep up with the traffic. Even if that bus is not heading to Bnei Brak, but to… Atlantic City.

    It’s my new reality. Buses heading to Atlantic City. And I don’t even know why it hits my so hard tonight. I’ve been seeing this for three months already, haven’t I? Oh, maybe not, actually. I don’t know when public transportation opened again, and I surely haven’t seen this 559 bus recently… But the point is I’ve gotten immune to so much recently. To the kind of things I cried from on the way home from the airport. To sights I kept myself sheltered from for six and a half months, sights I couldn’t imagine would ever be normal again. So why now? Why now when I’m already immune? Why now do I cry from a big green 559 bus that’s heading to Atlantic City?

    Maybe ‘cuz it’s so much more than a bus heading to Atlantic City? It’s a bus heading to Atlantic City, yet it looks like a different bus, from a different county, heading to a different place. Such a different place. Oh, and you thought it was kav 559? No, no, you got it all wrong; it’s Route 559. A different מציאות. A different עצם.

    Maybe ‘cuz it’s Motzaei Shabbos? And I don’t even know what I’m doing in a car on Motzaei Shabbos to begin with. And seeing a green bus reminds me that I should be on a green bus heading… to the Kosel. Not… down a highway with flashing lights and billboards and trucks and gas stations and all different kinds of things that are not Motzaei Shabbosdik things.

    And now the bus. It’s anti-everything this time used to be and is still supposed to be.

    It’s not just the kav or the bus or whatever it is. It’s the number on the bus, the words on the bus, the sounds, the smells, the people, the… well, everything about it. It just screams Not-Motzaei-Shabbosdik-Kav-Not-Heading-To-The-Kosel. And it hurts me. Even though I wasn’t at the Kosel for three months.

    And if I go to the Kosel now, well I would have to tear kriyah! Even though, that’s just crazy because of course I was by the Kosel in the past month; it was the last month of seminary. Just was the last month of seminary.

    But no. ‘Cuz I’m driving down Route 9 instead, watching green monstrosities roar past me. It’s a different world here. A different direction. A completely different kav.

    “And you know what?” I say to myself (in a whisper ‘cuz there’s a little brother in the car) as I brake at a red light. “It’s a good thing I had that little tear”. That little tear that pricked my eye for a second until that rude honk froze it in place. It’s that little part of me that will never forget. Never forget what Motzaei Shabbos really is, that it’s more than cars and honks and even more than green buses, any green buses. It’s more than traffic on Route 9. And even more than traffic on Shmuel Hanavi, lehavdil. Motzaei Shabbos is something I don’t know here, and I didn’t know there, and I thought I knew, but I never knew, but someday, one day… someday soon, I know I’ll know.

    And for now, I can just dream of a different kav. Kav Shalosh, to be exact.

  • Anagrammer

    July 2, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    I’m curious to know your thoughts on this piece. Is this somewhat relatable? To anyone besides Leahle 🙂 ? Does everyone know what Kav Shalosh is? This was literally just a brain-dump, and I have no idea what the reader gets from it. Any feedback welcome…

  • StoryLuver

    July 2, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Aaah I loved this piece! It’s bringing back memories of the way I felt right when I came back, and now it’s bothering me that I’m no longer feeling the culture shock of America, anymore.

    This is making me chalish to go back to Eretz Yisroel again, if only just to reclaim that clarity the אויר ישראל gives you.

    It’s pretty good, though,  that you’re familiar with all the kavs!! 290 and 291 to Beitar, that’s all I know.  And of course, 333 to Miron Lag B’omer (can’t believe that didn’t happen this year… 🙁 🙁 )

    Kav shalosh, is that the number 3 bus to the Kosel??

    I don’t know, I just remember you could take either the 1 or the 3.

    We never called them kavs, by the way, and the first thing I thought of when I saw your title was kav meaning type- it’s a ‘yeshivish’ word- (thanks, bros).

  • Anagrammer

    July 2, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    StoryLuver, you got it! Thanks for the validation 🙂

    Yes, kav 3 to the Kosel (also 1). “Kav shalosh” was a term that we used all the time in seminary… And no, I don’t know all the kavs, just some (417,418,419 to Beit Shemesh/RBS, 402 to Bnei Brak, 451 to Ashdod, 900 something to Teveria and Netanya…). But I do recognize numbers, and 559 isn’t one I’ve ever seen in Yerushalayim.

    Yes, the title was supposed to be a sort of play on words; America is a ‘whole different kav’ than Eretz Yisroel. Wasn’t sure how many people would pick up on it or if it even makes sense (I also only know the term from my dear bros 😉 )

  • riva pomerantz

    July 2, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    I cried for a whole year straight when my husband and I left Israel so he could go to school in Cleveland, so I really, really get this, Anagrammer!!! Of course, five years later, which was when we had promised ourselves we would go back to Israel for good, I didn’t wanna leave :-)!

  • Anagrammer

    July 2, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    Thanks, Riva!! Now imagine you found out 36 hours before your flight, and suddenly you were across the ocean…

  • Baila

    July 2, 2020 at 9:01 pm


    My heart is breaking.

    So relatable.  I feel the longing for Eretz Yisrael.  Reminds me that I haven’t gotten on the 417 from Beit Shemesh and then made it to the Kotel in three months either.  And I didn’t leave.  You have inspired me.

  • Anagrammer

    July 3, 2020 at 2:07 am

    Baila, I’m crying from your post. Thank you.

  • StoryLuver

    July 3, 2020 at 3:06 am

    Anagrammer, I went back a few times to read this, and I think I still will. It is that good.

    Plus, I learned a new meaning for the word kav! 😉 Seriously, I don’t think I ever knew it means route.

    It’s not okay that it’s been so long… was it really two whole years ago that I was able sit on my home couch and casually mention “last week, when I was at the Kosel”?

    Thanks for rekindling that longing.

    May we all be back there very very soon,  בביאת המשיח!

  • Anagrammer

    July 3, 2020 at 4:35 am

    You don’t know how much that means to me, StoryLuver. Thank you.

    Technically, ‘kav’ means ‘line’, so yeah, line, route (think ‘Rav Kav’).

    Was it really three and a half months ago that I said “I’m going to the Kosel”? And then I just went to the Kosel. And I was there twenty-five minutes later.

    Amen, Amen!

    • StoryLuver

      July 3, 2020 at 5:04 pm

      Yes! For months after seminary I would be like, Well, why don’t we go to the Kosel? It’s just a forty minute walk away…!

      Wait, what do you mean it’s not? Why would anyone ever want to live so far away? What are we even doing here?

  • Leahle

    July 3, 2020 at 9:37 am

    [quote quote=19775]Thanks, Riva!! Now imagine you found out 36 hours before your flight, and suddenly you were across the ocean…[/quote]

    36 Hours is Good – I got a phone call at 1:00 am Motzei Shabbos that I am Picking off at 1:00pm Sunday… So I had to leave Sem at 7:00 because traffic and everything was crazy… how many Hours is that??? I didn’t even Sleep…

  • Anagrammer

    July 3, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Yes, some of my friends had that. Some sem-mates disappeared in middle of the night, and I never had a chance to say goodbye… It was a very traumatic time for us all. I remember the last time I went to the Kosel, walking through Geulah, Meah Shearim and just crying, tears streaming down my face. I think the Israelis staring at me understood why. At least I knew it was my last time – did you not even have that, Leahle?

  • StoryLuver

    July 3, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Ouch, that’s insane, I don’t know how you people did it!!

    Leaving at the end of the year, with months’ advance knowledge, was already so hard.

  • Anagrammer

    July 3, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    I didn’t do it; it just happened to me. I sort of felt like an outsider watching myself go through the torture of it.

    And for 12 hours on the plane, I wrote. That was what kept me sane. Even though I was squashed between two fellow sem-mates (and I was trying hard not to breathe cuz none of us had masks). And every five seconds I was purelling my tray and my armrests and the rest of the seat. But I wrote and I wrote and I wrote until we landed and they announced “Welcome to the United States of America!” And not one person cheered. We just sobbed. The plane was heaving.

    And it’s funny and sad how on Purim I was saying “I can’t believe there are only three more months!” And then I watched girls in a different seminary (which closed before mine) leaving the Kosel for the last time, and my heart broke for them, and I said (all smugly) “Baruch Hashem, I have until June!”, but I was already worrying about how I would handle that infamous day in June. And then the next time I was there it was the last, and there was yellow caution tape marking off sections of ten people in each. And there were male police officers patrolling the women’s section. And I was not allowed to touch the wall.

    (Sorry for that; I needed to vent)

  • Leahle

    July 5, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    No, sadly I didn’t get a Chance to say Goodbye to the Kosel – or to anyone else like m grandparents, aunts, uncles and Cousins…

    Baruch HAshem though we are all safe and Sound and we are not allowed to complain About anything if we have so much to say thank you for…

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