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The Old City of Jerusalem

Posted by aviel on May 19, 2012

Thursday night the family took me to the Old City and the Western Wall (aka the Kotel). I always loved visiting the Old City at night. Somehow it makes it almost a magical experience. The walls around it are well-lit and the atmosphere calm, quiet and peaceful. Walking on the stone-paved streets, sometimes with a view of the City of David, is a wonderful experience. Now I’m going to stop myself from writing something cheesy about sensing the history in every stone, but that is pretty much what it feels like (note that I still wrote it).

The Western Wall

As we arrived at the Western Wall we saw a lot of soldiers. The Nahal Brigade had a ceremony where the relatively new recruits swear allegiance to Israel and the army. It brought back a lot of memories; of myself standing there in 2007 swearing the same oath, being both proud and full of expectations. Now I was thinking that the soldiers don’t really know what a pleasant experience the army can be. Not that I’m complaining. I already complained enough for a life-time. Still, the army for me was also a good experience. Interesting. And at times even wonderful. But I remember too well my personal frustration of being older than everybody and from a different cultural background. I suppose that won’t really apply to most of those recruits who are Israelis, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be all bliss for them either. Still, I wish them the best of luck. 🙂

The ceremony on the Western Wall plaza

The Western Wall plaza was really crowded that night. All the families and friends of the soldiers were there celebrating and it was really touching. While touching the Western Wall and experiencing the kind of moment when all the pieces of your life seem to come together, all the people started singing the national anthem, the Hatikva (the Hope). I started singing with them and it was deeply moving. The coincidence of this happening on my first visit to the Western Wall is nothing but startling. A religious person would find a special meaning in it, but Orly, my hostess, joked about how hard it was to arrange this thing with all the soldiers. I joked back and asked why she decided to bring the Nahal soldiers, perhaps the Paratroops were too busy doing serious work? 🙂

At the Western Wall

   

Later that night, after purposefully wandering around the Old City (Eitan won’t admit we got lost), they took me out for dinner in Ein Karem. It’s a place on the outskirts of Jerusalem, in the hills, full of really nice restaurants. I had my fill of focaccia, pasta and beer. That night I decided I badly needed to go running again, especially considering my experience with the Shabbat dinners they make here. 🙂

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2 Responses to “The Old City of Jerusalem”

  1. Richard said

    Kul att du börjat blogga igen. För oss som bara besöker, och inte bor, i Israel är alla rapporter roliga att läsa 🙂

  2. Richard said

    Fantastisk stämning. Kul att du börjat blogga igen. För oss som bara besöker, men inte bor, i Israel är alla rapporter värdefulla 🙂

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