You can also read another guest post about creating joyful Passover traditions from author Laura Gehl, or check out these reviews of this year's newest Passover stories in The Times of Israel!
|postcard of Jaffa station in the Ottoman period|
In each of my Engineer Ari books, I try to focus on one historical element of Jaffa & Jerusalem railway. The Rosh Hashana Ride recreates the railway’s celebratory opening in 1892 during the period of the Ottoman Turks. In The Sukkah Express, Engineer Ari and his friends build a sukkah with the leftover supplies from the 2-year-old project of building of the railway. The Hanukkah Mishap revolves around a reoccurring problem – camels that sat on rails.
In The Passover Rush, I chose to focus on how the Jaffa & Jerusalem Railway changed how “time” was treated in the land of Israel. Before the coming of the railway, time’s passage was marked primarily by Muslim calls to worship. But, with the opening of the Jaffa & Jerusalem Railway, the European clock became predominant. Muslim prayer times were even standardized to fit within the structure of railway time. Time, which had been meandering and organic, now was subject to deadlines and the need to rush.
Deborah Bodin Cohen