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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘mamilla’

Joy Of All The Earth: Meditations on Jerusalem

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Have you ever met anyone embracing seventy names? Have you ever tried searching for an item that has seventy names?

If you haven’t located that elusive city connected to seventy identities, a plane, bus or the light rail can transport you to it: a holy spiritual center, an ancient modern city – combinations that evoke weird and wonderful reactions from devotees and detesters, the sane and insane.

There is no other location with seventy exquisite names – Ohaliba, Gila, Yedidut, Shalem, etc. – names that express sentiments of love and joy, of friendship and peace; seventy choice callings found in Tanach and Talmudic texts, known foremost as Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is not my birth city. Jerusalem is my home. Sacred and ancestral, it is the city of kings and prophets, a city that has known countless wars and total destruction. Yet our generation has merited a revitalized Jerusalem, a thriving city atop layers of antiquity, Israel’s captivating capital.

Modern-day Jerusalem is nothing short of a miracle and one of the days for celebration is the 28th of Iyar, Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day. Not everyone revels on that joyous occasion; the defeated abhor Jewish expansion, Jewish presence, and Israeli success. Some prefer life as it was pre-1967; a city of barbed wire, sporting a belted waistline, mapped in green.

But I, who have lived here for fifty-four years, and nearly everyone else who experienced a Jerusalem divided by ugly concrete walls and twisted piercing wire, where Jordanian Legionnaires on Mamilla rooftops shelled and fired at Jews below, cannot ignore the miraculous fulfillment of prophecies worthy of celebration.

* * * * * Malls are not my favorite shopping habitat. Some are so overwhelming in size and sound, so excessively commercial, so physically exhausting. Still, there is one mall, only one, that touches a chord in my heart; not because of fashionable shops, cafés, or the artwork displayed, although admittedly they enhance the atmosphere. My affection stems from historical significance, a sense of triumph when reflecting, when sitting on a bench or walking along the stony paths surrounding the mall.

It is on Jerusalem Day, when I visit Mamilla, built above ruins of a shopping street opposite the Old City walls, that I reminisce.

Mamilla is an elongated stretch, a street that includes upscale housing, hotels, plus a mall – and Jerusalem Day is when I recall that 66 years earlier Jewish shops were looted and destroyed and shopkeepers were chased and slain by Arab marauders who thirsted for the area to be rid of Jews forever.

In their lust for blood, they turned the street into ruins. Few aspired to live or pursue business ventures in bombed-out buildings on the Jordan-Israel armistice line, on land that no one ever imagined would one day become coveted, exclusive property. Ironically, the word Mamilla, which may be Arabic, is strongly rooted in Hebrew: maleh, mimale, i.e., full, and fulfilling.

* * * * *

The Six-Day war was fought fiercely and swiftly. Israel did not expect to fight on three fronts. King Hussein’s decision to join the Egyptians and Syrians and declare war, forced Israel to defend Jerusalem by opening a third front.

On June 5, 1967, Jerusalemites sat in bomb shelters. I was among them, a 26-year-old mother of two young children, an American who had never experienced war and was traumatized by events surrounding the seemingly peaceful Rechavia neighborhood where we lived.

Mamilla, an ugly border street, was only a few blocks away. An army platoon was stationed in our backyard, situated in the Rechavia Valley. Three weeks before the war kindergarten children started filling protective sandbags while the Chevra Kadisha dug graves for the anticipated mass fatalities.

Joy Of All The Earth: Meditations on Jerusalem

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Have you ever met anyone embracing seventy names? Have you ever tried searching for an item that has seventy names?

If you haven’t located that elusive city connected to seventy identities, a plane, bus or the light rail can transport you to it: a holy spiritual center, an ancient modern city – combinations that evoke weird and wonderful reactions from devotees and detesters, the sane and insane.

There is no other location with seventy exquisite names – Ohaliba, Gila, Yedidut, Shalem, etc. – names that express sentiments of love and joy, of friendship and peace; seventy choice callings found in Tanach and Talmudic texts, known foremost as Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is not my birth city. Jerusalem is my home. Sacred and ancestral, it is the city of kings and prophets, a city that has known countless wars and total destruction. Yet our generation has merited a revitalized Jerusalem, a thriving city atop layers of antiquity, Israel’s captivating capital.

Modern-day Jerusalem is nothing short of a miracle and one of the days for celebration is the 28th of Iyar, Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day. Not everyone revels on that joyous occasion; the defeated abhor Jewish expansion, Jewish presence, and Israeli success. Some prefer life as it was pre-1967; a city of barbed wire, sporting a belted waistline, mapped in green.

But I, who have lived here for fifty-four years, and nearly everyone else who experienced a Jerusalem divided by ugly concrete walls and twisted piercing wire, where Jordanian Legionnaires on Mamilla rooftops shelled and fired at Jews below, cannot ignore the miraculous fulfillment of prophecies worthy of celebration.

* * * * * Malls are not my favorite shopping habitat. Some are so overwhelming in size and sound, so excessively commercial, so physically exhausting. Still, there is one mall, only one, that touches a chord in my heart; not because of fashionable shops, cafés, or the artwork displayed, although admittedly they enhance the atmosphere. My affection stems from historical significance, a sense of triumph when reflecting, when sitting on a bench or walking along the stony paths surrounding the mall.

It is on Jerusalem Day, when I visit Mamilla, built above ruins of a shopping street opposite the Old City walls, that I reminisce.

Mamilla is an elongated stretch, a street that includes upscale housing, hotels, plus a mall – and Jerusalem Day is when I recall that 66 years earlier Jewish shops were looted and destroyed and shopkeepers were chased and slain by Arab marauders who thirsted for the area to be rid of Jews forever.

In their lust for blood, they turned the street into ruins. Few aspired to live or pursue business ventures in bombed-out buildings on the Jordan-Israel armistice line, on land that no one ever imagined would one day become coveted, exclusive property. Ironically, the word Mamilla, which may be Arabic, is strongly rooted in Hebrew: maleh, mimale, i.e., full, and fulfilling.

* * * * *

The Six-Day war was fought fiercely and swiftly. Israel did not expect to fight on three fronts. King Hussein’s decision to join the Egyptians and Syrians and declare war, forced Israel to defend Jerusalem by opening a third front.

On June 5, 1967, Jerusalemites sat in bomb shelters. I was among them, a 26-year-old mother of two young children, an American who had never experienced war and was traumatized by events surrounding the seemingly peaceful Rechavia neighborhood where we lived.

Mamilla, an ugly border street, was only a few blocks away. An army platoon was stationed in our backyard, situated in the Rechavia Valley. Three weeks before the war kindergarten children started filling protective sandbags while the Chevra Kadisha dug graves for the anticipated mass fatalities.

Why I Got Excited by a Jerusalem Manhole Cover

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

I had such a great Pesach! My family was in from the States, and for a brief time, and once again, we felt like a family (and then of course there was the ritual crying when everybody left.) My awesome Jerusalem apartment (rented) allows for everybody to crash while there are here, and thereby we fulfill the promise of Jerusalem being blessed with her children within her – Berach Banayich BeKirbech (Psalms 147;13)

While they were here, we got to act like tourists, that is, we got to see the amazing things that exist right under our noses. So we walked from the Mount of Olives (where I live) to Ir David (City of David Archaeological Park in Silwan, 15 minutes away) and had a tour there.

Here is the image that I wanted to share with you from that trip:

Ancient Manhole

No, this is not an alien face staring at you. If you look closely you will make out the outline of what is, amazingly, an ancient manhole cover from the Herodian period (Second Temple hayday) in Jerusalem. This actually is the face of a complex drainage system which ran below the city street and it caught rainwater and kept the street from puddling up. It is indented, concave, bowl shaped – it draws they water to itself and whisks it safely away.

You have to admit it, drainage is cool anywhere. But 2,000 year-old classy Jewish capital drainage makes me want to fall on my face and kiss the stones. My mothers and fathers walked here as they headed up and up from the City of David to the amazing Temple above. Here is what their ascent looked like – dunk at the pool at the bottom and just walk “Yashar Yasher” up the stairs:

City of David

Later that same day, I had yet another moving moment when I walked through the bustling river of people at the outdoor Mamilla shopping mall (avenue? promenade?)

Mamila

And in this modern marvel of shopping and lots-of-eating, where only a few years ago it was no-man’s land filled with dust and rocks, I saw this:

Modern Manhole

You guessed it; modern Jerusalem drainage.

And here’s what I thought: Ancient Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome, we were dispersed around the world, and now we are returning, reclaiming, and rebuilding. We have much more to do, but sometimes its nice to have a reminder from the past that our direction is right and that we are, indeed, ascending. And there is nothing like coming full circle on a full stomach!

Here are some French kids eating Matzah on their Eight Day Pesach – Yom Tov Sheini:

Kids Eating Matzah at Mamilla Mall

Paris is beautiful, but now Jerusalem is home again…

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/eye-on-zion/why-i-got-excited-by-a-jerusalem-manhole-cover/2013/04/04/

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