Where encounters create beauty

When a chance encounter creates a unique experience…

The musician who chose this spot for her harp, the Ultra Orthodox guy who was moved by her music and joined her with an Yiddish song, the Arab juice-seller who set down his merchandise and applauded them at the end of the song, and everyone who happened to be there in that moment, and chose to listen.

And us, too.

One unique moment of togetherness.

Posted by Shira Marx Sapunar in Videos
Giving birth in Jerusalem

Giving birth in Jerusalem

“We already sealed the womb itself,” explained Professor Elchalal. “Now we’re stitching the tissues around it.”

The professor’s voice rose, oddly disembodied, from behind the curtain that separated my head from the rest of my body. A C-section, I thought, is all about separations – we separate tissue from tissue, baby from womb. Under these circumstances, a curtain cutting the body in two is only fitting.

“And how do you stitch the tissues together, professor?”

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Essays
A miracle on the seam

A miracle on the seam

There’s this place on the seam between the Quarters, and it’s my favorite place – it’s the one with the bombass view, with the room with the giant bed with the wrought iron posts, and the purple glass windows and a view looking onto the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The building grew out of a an old cistern 700 years ago.

And there’s wifi and hot water so basically #HappyPlace

The people who run it are Palestinians from Beit Hanina — we speak English when I come in — maybe “shwei Arabi.” I don’t hide that I’m Jewish or Israeli – ( I stayed here on Purim and paraded through in my mask and beads and shit, and wished everyone Chag Samayach and explained to the baffled backpackers from Holland WTF was going on) but once when I asked something in Hebrew, the guy running the desk said “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

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Posted by Sarah Tuttle-Singer

It’s complicated

Laughing, a 19-year-old (cool, Jewish) babe offered the knife to her (cool, Muslim) manager at the restaurant they both work at and tilted her head to better expose her throat. “Stop it!” he laughed back, “There are cameras here! They won’t understand.”

Welcome to Jerusalem. It’s complicated.

In contrast, next week, as we descend into Jerusalem Day, I’m nervous. Actually, I feel sick thinking about it. As the chanting, flag-waving, packs surge through the Old City to once again scream simple, simple abuse in the Muslim, Christian and Armenian quarters, who will hold them back? Lieberman? Mayor Nir Barkat?

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Posted by Helen Gottstein in Snippets

Where there is more than meets the eye

The beauty and complexity of Jerusalem – the free and democratic capital of Israel: male Jewish teen having an eye exam performed by a female Arab optometrist in a store owned by a charedi (ultra-orthodox hassidic jew) rabbi!

Posted by Arnie Draiman in Images
Lost in translation

Lost in translation

“You’re so lucky I am here to guide you, to protect you in this part of the city,” her friend had told her ten seasons past, while they walked through a wind-rubbed Muslim Quarter deep into December.

He said this when she pointed to words in Arabic written in blood-red paint, the letters drip-dried over old stone. “In this part of town, you never know,” he continued, “if Hamas or Islamic Jihad or even a salafi, perhaps, is close by and writing on walls.”

“What does it say?” she asked, as she glanced over each shoulder, right and left, afraid.

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Posted by Sarah Tuttle-Singer in Essays
Challa and Arabs and jazz, oh my!

Challa and Arabs and jazz, oh my!

Jerusalem is that moment when you attend a coexistence event in Jerusalem’s First Station, an open space full of restaurants and bars. A band is playing, hundreds of Jews and (significantly less) Arabs are swaying to the music, a few protesters are holding hand-made signs on the side.

And then a flood of religious and ultra-Orthodox Jewish women and (significantly less) men washes into the crowd, carrying containers full of dough, after attending a ‘Hafrashat Challa‘ event further up the open plaza. The dough-carrying masses don’t linger for long, but for a few minutes you stand surrounded by jazzy notes and girls in mini skirts and the domestic smell of bread.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Snippets

Forget the ark, just bring the flood

This week, Jews read the story of Noah and The Flood and today was a day awash with feelings. One of today’s Jerusalem terror attacks was near my house. One of my daughters heard the gunfire and then the sirens, sirens, sirens. Our upstairs neighbor ran for the bus and missed it. It shook us all, maybe because this one was so close to our house. All our other near misses have been further away from our front door.

Straight away, you hear the flood of Israeli reactions, “Kick ‘em all out”, “Kill them all”, “We’ll teach them”. A Palestinian FB friend allows comments on his peaceful posts that include calls for me to die. We all crave simple, final, absolutes. It’s what our gut calls for in response to terror and anger. Wash ‘em away. Finish them all. Start over.

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Posted by Helen Gottstein in Essays

Do you want this seat?

Leaving the Shuk one day and carrying heavy sacks, an Arab man wearing a kefiyah, asked me, a kippah wearer, if I wanted his seat.

Posted by Shlomo Fisherowitz in Snippets
Sunrise after terror

Sunrise after terror

After the tragedy and terror of this past week, I felt heartbroken and down about our golden city.

Congested with shame, rage, anger and shock just the evening before, She now awakened with stillness and a fresh pink glow.

Jerusalem of peace.

Let’s carry her gold in our hearts and start this week afresh.

(Written in 2015, after the Duma arson attack and the murder of Shira Banki during Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade)

Posted by Tzipora Lifchitz in Images, Snippets