by: Lukas Wallas, BFP Staff Writer
When I came to Israel for the first time in 2012 as a tourist, I utterly loved it. In 2013, I began living here in Jerusalem off and on. However, from the moment I experienced Jerusalem beyond the veil of tourism, my love for her began to mature. Today, even though I’m not a citizen, I consider this nation’s capital to be home. Every day my life is enriched to know its streets, culture, people and of course, its coffee shops. Now, allow me to paint you a picture of my daily journey as a millennial who embraces this Jerusalem life.
I wake up to a view overlooking the opaque Judean hills in the southern part of the city. Armon HaNatsiv is a rather restful neighborhood, nestled among different valleys and crests. While the sun rises, I am reminded of the immense privilege I have in fulfilling my dream of living in Jerusalem.
Now, millennial culture believes we can make a significant difference in the world. Our parents raised us to believe we could do this by simply living out our dreams. I believe—and know—I am making a difference as I live out one of my dreams in Jerusalem.
After a quick breakfast, I ride the bus into the rhythmic heart of modern Jerusalem. Although very safe and convenient, Israeli buses never run on time, never provide a smooth ride and are never boring.
Once I arrive in city center, it is time for a cup of coffee. Luckily, there are many coffee shops nearby, all within walking distance. Each one has a completely different bean selection and atmosphere. Although they are tempting, I will most likely grab a cup of French-press at the office, served in my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mug. We millennials are almost as abnormally connected to our childhood cartoons as to our coffee.
Once my “cup of joe” is poured it’s time to work. I am now the leader of the same ministry that hosted my first tour of Israel, Zealous 8:2. Zealous is a ministry of Bridges for Peace, connecting young adults to Israel through a yearly tour, the Call to Zion, and an eleven-month discipleship program called the Zealous Israel Project. Both emphasize social justice through education, advocacy and volunteer service. Social justice is another key element of my generation, and as a result, we are constantly looking for new ways to help the voiceless. Through these means, it is my dream-fulfilling work to connect millennials from around the world with this city and its King.
Finally, it’s time to head home. The walk to the bus via Ben Yehuda Street is one of the most boisterous ordeals in Jerusalem. The entertainment is curiously captivating, and I experience countless cultural diversities that this beautiful nation offers, all in an evening’s stroll. I then catch the bus for a twisty ride back home where my apartment greets me with another spectacular view. The sunny hills from the morning have turned into a midnight backdrop with thousands of flickering lights from other nearby homes. I am once again reminded how I am living out my dream, but unlike the eager morning, I am blanketed with peace and solemnity.
Two things define my generation: coffee and social justice. As silly as it may seem, these are our passions. Of course, there are millennials who don’t care about social justice and absolutely hate coffee. That’s not the point. The point is that overall, these things characterize us as millennials. I am one of those people. Day to night, I am living out my dream by being in Jerusalem, changing the world with a cup of coffee in my hand and a burning desire for justice in my heart. I am a millennial, and this is my life in Jerusalem
Photo Credit: Michio Nagata/Bridgesforpeace.com
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