The stranger wore a threadbare black sports jacket that looked like it might have come from a second-hand shop and a dusty black kipah. He stroked his short beard as he walked up and down the rows of graves as the ox plows, stopping for a few beats at each to read the headstone. In the row in front of me he had to detour around t-shirt and shorts-clad twenty-somethings from a Birthright group, listening to a guide I couldn’t hear. Finally he arrived at the last full row, the one where I sat, with the lawn in front of it waiting for new tragedies.
He nodded at me, hugging himself. I nodded back. After a moment of hesitation he spoke.
“It’s cold here in Jerusalem,” he said
I shrugged. “Here we’re used to the seasons starting to change the week before Rosh Hashannah. You must be from someplace warmer. Tel Aviv?”
“Tiberias,” he said. “Also Sura.”
I looked at him quizzically. “You mean the one just west of the Euphrates?”