Lee Goldstein: ‘Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination’ (blog 3)


Lee GoldsteinMay 2012: Clearly, Immanuel Kant hadn't gone to Hebrew U. Had he studied here, he would have known that happiness is an ideal of finishing all your exams.

The odd thing is that just a few months ago, during the actual exam period, when I had one every week, studying all day long didn't really bother me. However, now that I had only two exams to redo, it was awful. It just felt like I had so many (better) things to do around here, places to go to, people to meet. On the one hand, that's not so great, for after all, I did come here mainly in order to study. On the other hand, there's a good side to it. It made me realize that this feeling is a result of my finally making myself at home in Jerusalem.

Even though I've liked my apartment, roommate and my friends from university right from the beginning, I haven't felt like I really belonged here. I used to take every opportunity I had to visit Tel Aviv, not necessarily because I had any obligations there — rather that it just felt like home, a feeling I really started to miss.

Another thing that was very difficult for me to cope with, as silly as it may seem, was the weather. I was honestly unprepared for the Jerusalem winter. Born and raised in Tel Aviv, I'm used to a “false” kind of winter, one that lasts for no more than two months, during which it rains for about two weeks — but still startles everyone every single year. Then, after the hard part is over, we all go back to blissfully complaining about the insufferable heat and head right to the beach.

Jerusalem is nothing like that. Apart from the mere fact that there is no beach in sight, the winter here is so much longer, wetter and unbelievably colder! It took me a long time to devise a sophisticated method of keeping myself relatively warm in my apartment, which eventually included two radiators, one time switch and numerous blankets. Numerous.

Still, here I am. Once I got used to the cold, it suddenly wasn't so bad. The more friends I made here and the tighter our relationship became, the more reasons I have to stay in Jerusalem over the weekend. The more acquainted I became with the city and with its residents, the more frequently I invite and host friends from Tel Aviv.

I now even have my own "regular place", where they know my "regular drink" (half apple juice, half Seven-Up — recommended!) and the elderly owner of one of the restaurants at the fresh produce market Mahane Yehuda now recognizes me from my weekly visits and absolutely loves to overfeed me, despite my feeble objections.

The really great thing is that I'm finally beginning to get what I came here looking for. Different people, different places, a different scene — but now I'm part of it. Yes, it's different but it's mine.

There is just one tiny problem though. How on earth do I keep up with all the fun stuff when I really should be studying?

Tel Aviv-native Lee Goldstein, 21, is a first-year student in undergraduate studies in philosophy and psychology at the Hebrew University. She completed her army service in a top unit in the intelligence corps in early 2011.

Lee's previous blogs:

From Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (blog 1)

Thoughts after one weeek (blog 2)

For more Hebrew University blogs, click here