Mahane Yehudah

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 seek perfection

A man checking an etrog for Sukkot in the Machane Yehuda etrog market.

Posted by Debra Nussbaum Stepen in Images

At the shuk with the living and the dead

“I just sold it to that couple for 30 shekel,” Yoram, the merchant said pointing to the backs of two people, “why should I give it to you for less?” There was an almost angry lilt to his Hebrew.

“Because I have a great smile,” I quipped without missing a beat. And with that, he tipped his head and handed me the bundle of socks in a blue plastic bag. I paid him 20 shekel and he shooed me away lest anyone be witness to the coup I just pulled.

The shuk at Machaneh Yehuda, the bastion of haggling in the heart of Israel, is so fabulously complementary to the delicate mélange of old-world aura and cosmopolitan glitter that Jerusalem has become. It is a city of unique sophistication built on ancient spirits blended with the sacrifice of souls, old and new, made on her behalf. Hidden in a pocket of the city between the streets of Agrippas and Yaffo, the shuk, a world unto itself; it couldn’t be more ideal had it been expressly planned as a special treat for tourists to go back in time.

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Posted by Zahava Englard in Essays
“Na na banana” in the Pantheon

“Na na banana” in the Pantheon

Sometimes, you encounter Jerusalem in absentia.

It happened to me once, when I walked through the Pantheon in Rome.

The ceiling curved above me, the gilded walls loomed all around me, and I knew that I was supposed to look up at that marvel of Roman architecture, and feel awed.

But I didn’t feel awe.

I didn’t feel admiration.

I looked at that beautiful building, and laughed.

The emperor who commissioned the Pantheon – Emperor Hadrian – ordered the execution of one of our greatest sages, Rabbi Akiva.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Snippets
Good Luck Lychee

Good Luck Lychee

The heat was intense at the Shuk today, the noises and smells even more so. I pushed my way through the masses of sweaty, swarthy people yelling in indecipherable tones at indistinguishable decibels and was reminded of how much I dislike large crowds. Even so, good things happened. I was buying mangos and avocados while the Arab vendor complimented me on my son, “aize chamud — how cute — a boy or a girl?” He told me he had 14 children, including four sets of twins. How he had prayed and prayed for a daughter but waited until his 13th child to have a girl. He handed me my change, along with a single lychee. Enjoy it, he said, and have a beautiful day. A good luck lychee, I thought to myself, and put it into my purse so that it wouldn’t get mixed up with my other purchases.

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Posted by Adina Kopinsky in Snippets
Grandpa’s Jerusalem

Grandpa’s Jerusalem

I have vivid memories from when I was a small child of my grandparents returning from their annual trip to Israel. It was always very exciting for me to hear them talk about the holy land they loved so much. I thought of it as a magical wonderland with camels and silver and lots and lots of siddurs (prayer books) and Tehillim (psalms) books because those were gifts they’d bring back for us. I felt proud when I learned that my grandfather was born in our ancient homeland. I thought him a hero for coming to the States when he was a teenager to make money to help support his family back home.

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Posted by Aliza Lipkin 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

Impressions from Mahane Yehudah

My love for Jerusalem has only grown since my aliyah in 1988. Although we moved out of the city 5 years ago it’s enchantment and power still draws me in.
On my weekly shopping trip to Machane Yehuda I am continually distracted by the character filled streets and here are some of my impressions.

Posted by Michal Waller in Images

The last night of Hannukah

Nachlaot at dusk

​Every Hannukah I head off with my camera to the (almost) all-pedestrian neighborhoods of Nachlaot and Zichron Moshe to take in the beautiful sight of the dozens of chanukiot shining with light outside fancy, remodeled, single-family homes, mostly owned by English-speakers, and the modest hovels nearby, occupied largely by Haredi families and yeshiva students.

​Last year I waited until the final day of the holiday–a crisp, clear evening–and here are some of the results:

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Posted by Judy Lash Balint in Images