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October 20, 2016

Diving Deep into Jerusalem’s Culture

(BY: EZRA RABINOWITZ) 

Imagine yourself sitting in a cafe on bustling Jaffa Road in downtown Jerusalem, sipping Turkish coffee as people rush by during the excitement of the Jewish holidays. An ultra-Orthodox man urges Jewish men to put on tefillin (phylacteries), while nearby an Orthodox woman plays modern pop on a violin. An Arab family walks by, the little girl tightly holding her father’s hand, while just ahead of them a soldier strolls by, assault rifle in one hand and his girlfriend’s hand in the other. Outside the cafes and restaurants, the sukkot (flimsy booths with cloth walls and roofs made of plant matter) are being built by Jewish and Arab workers sharing jokes and cigarettes. The light rail glides smoothly by and a mechanical voice announces, “Jaffa Center” in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Until the late 19th century, Jerusalem’s center was about a kilometre away behind the Ottoman walls of the Old City, and this artery was once a rugged dirt road leading to the port of Jaffa on the coast. That period is just one part of the incredibly complex mosaic of Jerusalem—or more precisely, layers of mosaics. And it continues today. The tastes, smells, music, and passionate sub-communities of Jerusalem create a living, pulsing tapestry.

This blog will explore events, venues, nightlife, social trends and social action, art, cuisine and more. We’ll meet artists, small business owners, chefs, DJs, musicians, educators, guides and others whose passion for Jerusalem helps create a living, pulsing, ever changing tapestry of culture.

Sipping that coffee and staring, you might feel simultaneously awed, excited and overwhelmed, as many before you have. There is indeed something mystical, stunning and intriguing about this city. Join us on this journey, and you just might fall in love with Jerusalem and its people, if you haven’t already.