After a weekend on the Yishuv, I had several options to get back to Jerusalem. I could climb on a bus and join fifty other people and their kids, sad to leave the hills and Shabbat behind. I could see if the family I had stayed with was heading into the city and join them. Or I could take a tremp.
I remember when a good friend of mine first taught me the rules. Don’t talk on the phone. Don’t play music. Get out when you get to your stop. To be on the safe side, all of my tremps were drivers coming out of the Yishuv I had just spent the weekend on. They were usually either women or families.
I loved coming back to Jerusalem in a tremp. It was a peek into another person’s world. The music they listened to, the conversations I could have if they started speaking to me. The connections I made all over the Shomron as I was driven through the mountains under the stars and toward my destination.
Now that I am in Chutz La Aretz and away from my home, I don’t take tremps anymore. Not only is it dangerous, but it is also out of the question. No one driving out of my neighborhood will offer me a ride if I am heading elsewhere. That is not in their mentality. They have their cars, they’re comfortable. I can get there myself.
When did the American mentality become so me me me and less we we we? Judaism teaches that we are all one, part of the greater whole of existence. Perhaps that is why strangers were so willing to give me rides back to Jerusalem on those Saturday nights. If we are here to connect, then surely we should have no problems offering rides to, if not strangers, at least acquaintances and friends who are in need of transport. We were not put on this earth to acquire, but to give. Perhaps America could take some cues from people who pick up strangers in cars. You have 5 seats built in for a reason.