Religion

A Jerusalem Vision, Jerusalem Day–Yom Yerushalayim

A Jerusalem Vision, Jerusalem Day–Yom Yerushalayim

Aaron Ettinger was one of the paratroopers who fought in Jerusalem during the Six Day War, and was severely wounded on Salah e-Din Street near Damascus Gate.

A few years ago, at a Jerusalem Day sing-along at a synagogue around the corner from the President’s Residence, Aaron was given the microphone to recount his experiences during the two hellish days of the battle to liberate the city in June 1967.

The elderly, slightly portly man with a full head of white hair topped with a knitted kipa, spoke about the number of his comrades (mostly reservists from kibbutzim) who fell in the worst of the fighting that took place on the northern side of the Old City on Nablus Road, Salah e-Din Street and in front of Damascus Gate.

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Posted by Judy Lash Balint in Essays

Where we seek perfection

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

Posted by Debra Nussbaum Stepen in Images
Jerusalem’s faces

Jerusalem’s faces

Almost alone among cities, Jerusalem transcends its physical essence to reach exalted spiritual and metaphorical levels. The many faces of Jerusalem are reflected in the rich and complex personality of King David who established his sovereignty there. As Rabbi David Silber, the great teacher of Bible notes, there is the David of the Book of Samuel, the David of the Book of Psalms and the David of our liturgy. Corresponding to these three aspects of this monumental king, there is the political Jerusalem, the loving Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem of eternal spiritual transcendence.

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Posted by Avi Weiss in Essays
Those dreams, this city

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.

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Posted by Irene Rabinowitz 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

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

Where we intersect

In Jerusalem, even event signage is filled with layers of meaning. Here is an example: The YMCA (Christian), hosting an event to benefit Syrian refugees (Muslim), featuring Handel’s Messiah, which of course translates in Hebrew to “Moshiach”. Gives a new (and in my view, much better) definition to the word ‘intersectionality’.

Posted by Sally Abrams in Images