Saturday, August 8, 2009

If I forget you, o Jerusalem

Jerusalem Old City from Mount of Olives.Image via Wikipedia

If I forget you, o Jerusalem
let my right hand forget its skill
let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy!

Psalm 137

It is very difficult to write or talk about Jerusalem. Because Jerusalem is something that milions, if not bilions hold dear, a sacred place for three religions, a place where you feel small and weak in front of God's magnificence. When I have to write about Jerusalem, my words fail me, they seem insignifiant, powerless, poor. I feel I cannot understand the meaning of the mystery that Jerusalem holds within its walls.

So I just call myself fortunate that I have the chance to enter Damascus Gate whenever I want to and to walk on the narrow streets of the Old City.

And I told myself, even before my sister came here, that I'll have to take her to Jerusalem. ..So this Saturday, I left my husband and my Maya at home and a friend of ours, also called Tibi, took us to Jerusalem. Tibi is a good friend and an excellent guide. He knows his way through the narrow streets of the Old City and also knows a lot about the history of the place. I also know a lot, when I wrote my book about Israel a spent a lot of time in Jerusalem and I got lost a lot in the Old City, but just for today, I laid back and enjoyed the ride, as to say.

We took my sister and his son on via Dolorosa, then we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Wailing Wall. I am not going to try and tell you about this places, you have toms of literature (including my book) written on the subject. Instead, I am going to tell you, maybe, about the Arab market that runs through the via Dolorosa, the Arab shopkeepers and cofee shop owners, about the smells that mix in the air and melt in your mouth: cofee with hell, incense, sweets, halwa, tobacco and about the people, the people that wander the streets of the Old City. I saw there today Polish and Philipino and Greeks and Americans and a group of black old ladies dressed the same, talking in French, and Ethiopians and Indians and Russians and Romanians, all walking quietly, all overwhelmed by their feelings, by the magnificence of the holy places. At the Wailing Wall I saw the Jews, dressed in their best clothes, bathing in the joy of Shabbat, the holiest day of the Jewish people. I saw the golden dome of the Dome of the Rock and the grey one of the Al Aqsa mosque and I asked myself: "Why? Why so much hatred ? Why so much pain and tears and suffering? I am here, in the holiest place for three religions, and I can fell that all this pleople have so much in comun, and most of all, they love the same God... So why? Why wars and terror attacks and words and battles and intolerance? " I don't know, I know I am to small and this questions are too hard to answer to, more intelligent people tried to answer them and solve them and failed...so when I left the Old City, my heart was full of joy and sorrow, equally...

I found this presentation on the net. Enjoy! And just stop for a while and think some peaceful thoughts...

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2 comments:

Hevel said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL6eFwJ4JX4

Alone in Holy Land said...

Brilliant!
Thank you very much Hevel!