web analytics
September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Love Song For A City

Waysman-050313

Jerusalem was never real to me. It was a name I came across in books of Bible stories as a child. If I’d ever tried to imagine it, it would have been like places in my books of fairy stories. I knew it was a city with crenellated walls, with domes and towers and minarets. In my mind, I saw it peopled with old men with long beards and flowing robes, and women with clay jugs precariously balanced on their heads.

If someone would have described a modern city with every kind of amenity and an educated, bustling population, I don’t think I would have believed it.

When I came to visit for the first time in 1970, I had to adjust my perception. I realized there was a West Jerusalem as well as the Old City, that I could stand on the corner of any street and hear many different languages spoken.

In the space of ten minutes I might see an old lady in the costume of some forgotten community; an American tourist with coiffed hair, wearing jeans, and with several cameras slung over her shoulder; a monk with shaven head and a long brown habit; a group of Israeli soldiers; housewives with their shopping bags; a haredi Jew with long payot, garbed in black and with tzitzit hanging outside his trousers.

I could eat in a restaurant or visit a cinema or do most of the things I did in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia. Yet Jerusalem didn’t speak to me in a special voice.

Aliyah was never my idea, and when the whole family came to settle a year later, I was in a deep depression. I understood we were doing it for our four children, but what about me? How would I ever understand this strange, convoluted language? How would I find anything to compensate for what I was leaving behind — a comfortable lifestyle, deep roots, family, friends, a profession? I was terrified.

Falling in love with a city is not so different from falling in love with a person. It is an emotion that grows slowly. You begin to notice what you had overlooked before.

There is the quality of light that begins with a pearly dawn. When the sun shines, the masses of grey stone are turned to gold. At twilight, the indigo shadows lengthen. The night sky is black velvet strewn with stars. Your senses become aware of an ancient perfume that wafts down from the Judean hills, compounded of sage, thyme and rosemary. You can hear the wind whispering in the pine trees, and echoes of a history that is filled with pain. You stroll through the Jerusalem Forest, where shy cyclamens in mauve and cream and wild violets nestle among the rocks.

When you walk in the Old City, your feet are treading the stones that King David danced on. A prayer at the Western Wall seems to ascend straight to heaven and you know you are in a very spiritual place, where blessings are invoked. When you say: “Ani Yerushalmi” (“I am a Jerusalemite”), you say it proudly because of all the feelings you are unable to express in words. Though parts of the city are shabby and down-at-heel, Jerusalem is beautiful in a way that you see not with your eyes but with your soul.

It took a few years before I became bonded to this city and its people. Now I have lived here for forty-two years, and even though I’ve seen much of the world, this is where I want to stay. Like all Jerusalemites, I feel uniquely privileged. Though we can contribute little during our brief sojourn here, we know that Jerusalem is eternal.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Love Song For A City”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas's leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh (in blue shirt, center), benefitted politically - and in a dramatic fashion - from this summer's war.  Photo from Hamas victory rally, Aug. 27, 2014.
Gazan Deaths and Destruction Dramatically Drives Popularity for Hamas
Latest Indepth Stories
1347905461_5613_Mideast_Israel_Palestinians_Rosh_Hashana_05475

“these soldiers are on the front lines of a war that the entire world is fighting”

yesha1

Hayovel’s vision: to share with them (Jews) a passion for the soon coming jubilee in yeshua messiah.”

Tibets spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama: In the interest of Tibetans today to have peaceful co-existence with the Chinese.

Hamas Quote on Death

However, 40+ countries still use capital punishment for a variety of offenses.

The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors

It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.”

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

More Articles from Dvora Waysman
Overall view of garden model

Just imagine you are walking through a beautiful garden. Feast your eyes on the colors of the flowers, the grass at your feet, the leaves of the trees in shades from green to silver. Listen to the birds. Let the sunshine caress your face. Smell the perfume.

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, zt”l

His dream was to reach out to every Jew, even the most secular.

This is a remarkable book to assist those of us – and that means everyone – who are trying to find our way in life, with all its setbacks and pain, as well as for people who want to help people.

Forty-six years ago, in the first week of June, Israel stunned the world when it wasn’t looking. Four years later, Israel stunned me when I wasn’t looking.

Jerusalem was never real to me. It was a name I came across in books of Bible stories as a child. If I’d ever tried to imagine it, it would have been like places in my books of fairy stories. I knew it was a city with crenellated walls, with domes and towers and minarets. In my mind, I saw it peopled with old men with long beards and flowing robes, and women with clay jugs precariously balanced on their heads.

Jews all over the world celebrate Israel’s Independence Day – even those who have no intention of ever coming on aliyah, and many of whom have never even visited Israel. “It’s a kind of insurance policy” one overseas friend told me. “By supporting Israel financially and emotionally, I know that its sanctuary is available to me or my children or grandchildren should the need ever arise.”

As we get older, nostalgia takes over many areas of our life and we often yearn for things from the past.

One of the most popular of our chaggim is Simchat Torah, which falls on the last day of Sukkot. As its name suggests, Simchat Torah celebrates the joy of the Torah. There is no record of this holiday before the 11th century, and its origin may have been in Spain.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/love-song-for-a-city/2013/05/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: