Sunday, October 4, 2009

Time Travel

There continues to be some tension in the Old City with the Jewish holiday, Sukkot, going on, so we spent the day in West Jerusalem again. I don’t believe that I have described the contrast between East and West Jerusalem yet.

Whoever says time travel is impossible has not stepped through one of the gates leading inside the walls of the Old City. You are pulled back a century with each step forward. The musty smells and dim light add to the atmosphere of antiquity. It seems that each shop has been handed down the family for hundreds of years and every brick and stone has a story. Most people, especially women, are dressed in the same style their ancestors were, excepting the squeaky new tennis shoes.

In contrast, West Jerusalem is like a modern European city. The visage of Ben Yehuda street speaks only of street performers and shopping trips with the cobblestones and Cathedrals serving as the only indicator of any history. They have all of the same clothing lines we do in America: Adidas, Puma, Gap, American Apparel, Hollister, and the list goes on. The demographic in West Jerusalem is overwhelmingly Jewish and many of these Jews have emigrated from European cities which just adds to the modern undercurrent.

You can find interesting people to talk to all over the city but I find myself rather missing East Jerusalem and the Old City. I hope we are allowed to go back, soon!

Some little girls were playing with their
puppy on Ben Yehuda Street.

We went exploring in the Ethiopian section of the city, above Ben Yehuda, and found this little
gem of a church. We were the only visitors and we sat in there for an hour or so, pondering. The
way the sun was streaming in at that time of day was magnificent! The incense burned there had the most unique smell! The church was circular with icons and colorful prayer rugs in the middle. The dome was painted beautifully and most of the middle portion was pepto bismol pink!

This priest didn't speak a word of English
but he welcomed us in so warmly.
Such a sweet old man.

The beautiful sunshine.

Me! taken by Lizzie.

This was a little building off the courtyard of the church. There was
another priest doing bookwork in that room but I thought the
lounging cat was picturesque.

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