last glimpse of gold, and we plunged under the mountains;
tunnel and yet another transition in our journey. Our
time at Kibbutz
Afikim was stretched before me, but my attempts to look
unsuccessful with that last image of Jerusalem engraved
in my mind.
three weeks spent in this city, an endroit which holds
character, unique of any other in the world, it had
become a sort of home.
It was a place which had challenged me intellectually
had allowed for adventures and exploring, and had granted
to experience a taste of the cultures and religions
that manage to coexist
within the city walls.
is to me a collection of experiences and moments, which
illustrate in their own ways the essence of the place.
In our first week,
snow descended one afternoon, blanketing the old city
in an atmosphere of
excitement. Unbelievably, a shopkeeper hurried me out
hole-in-the-wall, so that he might catch sight of such
a rarity. As I
scurried down a street in the Armenian quarter, towards
Zion Gate, huge
flakes fell and the ringing of bells echoed from Dormition
Abbey. I was
struck by the moment- the sheer joy of travel and the
realization of where
I was in the world.
such moment found me during our week at Ecce Homo. As
the snaking cobblestone streets with my camera one Saturday
found myself outside the eastern wall. As I wandered
through the Muslim
Cemetery, with the temple Mount on my right, and the
Mount of Olives to my
left, the call to prayer began. The mystical rise and
fall of its tones
emerged from various locations within the city walls
and echoed to other
mosques across the Kidron Valley.
minutes later as dusk fell, I found myself at the western
Here, Shabbat was coming to a close and the plaza was
alive with the
heartfelt singing of the Jewish men who filled the area.
There was such a
brotherhood and sense of community, and complete joy
a matter of moments I had experienced the manner in
which two such
different peoples live side by side, each worshipping
in their own way.
While it would be far from realistic to say that life
in such an
atmosphere is always peaceable and rational, it is of
some comfort to me
that there is still room in this land for such invaluable
it be a Bar Mitzvah on Thursday at the wall, or the
call to prayer
blasting into the bedroom windows of Ecce Homo at five
am, Jerusalem will
remain a place of intrigue.
flurry of activity below Damascus Gate, the felafel-maker
the EMU group daily, the woman sitting in the street,
with her herbs
spread around her like folds of her skirts or the green
carts piled high
with pita that always managed to run over toes; these
are all moments
that will stay with me.
as the way the walls protecting the city change color
weather, so our trip continues to transition. Our days
in Jerusalem may have passed for now, but that last
glimpse of the Dome of the Rock- upon parting
will always prompt the revival of memories and experiences.