Those dreams, this city

It came to me in my dreams as a child. Maybe it was the stories of King David and Solomon’s Temple when I was in Hebrew school. Maybe it was the images in picture books from the library with the Temple shining in the sun and sheep grazing on the hills of the city. Maybe it was just there, some genetic link dating back centuries that brought Jerusalem into my dreams. And now this city is my home, in every sense of the word. When you love something from afar, without knowing the reality of snuggling in its arms, there is much to learn when first surrounded by your object of desire. And this city teaches, as no other city in the world does. History and modernity tied together, and we learn from both that they are not mutually exclusive. Jerusalem is a city of ancient dreams and legends, always with new dreams and legends joining the ancient.

Much is written about the meeting, and sometimes collision, of three monotheistic religions that have a presence here. From my apartment, I hear the Shabbat siren letting us know we have twenty-five hours of family, friends, and prayer. On Sunday mornings, I hear church bells and know that the nuns living next door will not be working in the garden that day. And I hear the call to prayer of the muezzin from the Old City on many days when the wind is right. This is life in Jerusalem.

The walk from where I live to the Old City through Jaffa Gate and through the Jewish Quarter to the Kotel is one that I take often. And it is rare that I take that walk without remembering that if this was between the time of my birth (and Israel’s reconstitution) and 1967, that walk would have not been possible. But today it is and as I walk through the Jewish quarter, I know that I am one little atom in the whole of Jewish life that has lived, died, and dreamed in this place. This city stirs memories, many that are singular to each of us who live here, as well as those memories that are ingrained in history and in our DNA. This is a glorious time to live in Jerusalem and for the blessing of this gift, I will always be thankful.

Irene Rabinowitz

Posted by Irene Rabinowitz

Irene Rabinowitz is a native New Englander who made aliyah in 2014. After a long career in the non-profit sector, she now consults with NGOs both in Israel and the United States. She writes, walks Jerusalem streets, and drinks a lot of coffee. She blogs for the Times of Israel and on her personal site.

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