Encounters

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

Where we smile

This photo was taken just outside Machane Yehuda market. This Ethiopian girl has a saj on her head- a device for making bread. She smiled sweetly when I asked to take her photo. A Jerusalem moment.

Posted by Debra Nussbaum Stepen in Images
Where we tell it like it is

Where we tell it like it is

I’ve been living in Jerusalem for nearly 9 years now. Ironically, the very thing that drove me nuts about living here is something I’ve come to value and appreciate.

Living here, I am struck by the realness of the way that we deal with life.

I don’t mean to say that life in other places is somehow superficial. I’ve had some incredibly rich life experiences both in NY and Melbourne, and a very brief stint in the Ukraine many years ago.

It’s just that living in Jerusalem feels somehow more real than anywhere else I’ve been. When I say real, I mean in your face. You-can’t-run-away-from-it kind of real.

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Posted by Micki Lavin-Pell in Essays
Splashing together

Splashing together

Just outside the Old City of Jerusalem is the delightful Teddy Park.

This free attraction comes to life in the summer on a regular schedule that has children of all ages – and some adults too – ready and waiting for it to start each time. What struck me was how it was a total mix of Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, all enjoying the fountains together. No one cared who was who, everyone was just having fun, cooling off on a hot summer night in Israel. A pure, happy Israeli moment. So beautiful!

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Posted by Laura Ben-David in Images
Jerusalem, city of contradictions

Jerusalem, city of contradictions

May, 2014, 7:00 AM, Amman airport.
I am returning to Jerusalem from a celebratory conference that began with so much promise. Two Israeli doctors developed a solar battery hearing aid and contributed it to the Jordanians who suffer high incidence of infant deafness, the result of common tribal in-marriage. If treated before age 3, there is hope for normal speech and a normal life. Heretofore, the families of deaf children routinely tossed hearing aids when the battery ran out, sadly long before three years. There are homes for the deaf all over Jordan.

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Posted by Blu Greenberg in Essays

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

Where we wait

Jerusalem is not an easy city to travel across, sometimes.

I was waiting for the light rail train near Mount Scopus, and my fellow Jerusalemites were losing their patience fast. A school girl in a mini-skirt whined, “Come on! We’re, like, waiting forever!” to a friend, and squeezed herself onto the bench. The young man she pushed, a student of architecture judging by his large folder, rolled his eyes. Next to him, an elderly lady huffed and squirmed to make room.

Perhaps, I thought, waiting is the appropriate activity for this particular location. Our waiting, measured by minutes, is but a ripple on a pond. Underneath this place’s surface, the land is saturated with decades of yearning.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Snippets

The changing face of Jerusalem

A young troubador on a Bukharan Quarter balcony

The face of some of Jerusalem’s most historic neighborhoods is changing. Recently, I ventured into the Bukharan Quarter for the first time in several months. Half of the market area is now a construction zone, with some of the beautiful old, late-19th century buildings bordering Yehezkel Street demolished to make way for yet another complex of luxury apartments.

But the faces of Israelis living in the Bukharan Quarter haven’t changed much.

Posted by Judy Lash Balint in Images