It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining, and the grass is growing, and the birds are chirping. It is a taste of summer at it’s best, and I’m just about to go off for a weekend in the country with two of my sons, and their rather large families, and some friends too. The perfect way to start enjoying the summer.
While still contemplating the images of my last series, ‘blood behind stones’, of the back streets of my neighborhood, I feel the need to add that those pictures just represented one of the many paths that I take on my daily walk. On a day like this, I enjoy walking along Rachmilevitch Str, with it’s beautiful lawn that runs along one side of the street for more than a kilometer, with it’s shady trees, and lush shrubbery. I trade ‘good morning’ with others out for their morning walk. See people running to catch the bus, on their way to work. Occasionally, there are young people who’ve gone out to the lawn to have a smoke. I assume they refrain from smoking at home.
Thinking of the many different sides of the neighborhood, I thought I should show some of the more typical sights, which would give a bit of perspective, and a balance to the last series. And while thinking about it, I remembered a song that I heard played when I was in the US, many years ago. It was called 12 Gates to the City, a ‘spiritual’ about Jerusalem. I loved it. It was unlike the songs I knew in praise of Jerusalem, but it’s lyrics reminded me of the wide variety of people who are at home in our city. Not only are there many different religious beliefs, but also different cultural heritages and customs. You can observe different styles of dress from one side of our neighborhood to the other… and sometimes great differences in behavior too. Historically, Jerusalem was once a walled city, and the wall still stands, though we have been building outside the wall, and adding neighborhoods to our town for the last 100 years.
I suppose that every big city is a world in itself. As much as I might try to share with you the nature of our city, I know I could never tell the full story. What I write is from my personal subjective viewpoint. And though I myself belong to one of the many different subcultures that together make the weave of our collective home, I hope that you can sense the great affection I have for all of the many different styles of life that are represented here. In my photography, I try to capture it all… all the many nuances of our life here. But there is no way I could get it all into one series. It’s a story that goes on and on.
Trying to choose pictures, it seems the only way to go is random choices of scenes I particularly love, with the hope that the reader will be able to connect. And as often happens, I was thinking of a particular picture… from years back. I was driving to work, and I saw a scene… one of the smaller gates of the old city… a gate in the wall, and while sitting behind the wheel, waiting for the light to change, I shot the picture with a little toy camera I had in my breast pocket. I know I could find it, if I gave it a little time. But right now I don’t have the time, and it might take me hours to find.
And then there are archives of photographs shot in B&W, and others shot in color. I don’t like to mix between them, because I see black & white, and color as two different languages. So I have to make a choice. But the process of picking out photos of Jerusalem brings the though that I should do this more often. There are so many different scenes I would like to share with you.
I will close with a picture of the main street of our neighborhood. It’s named after a man who was a great hero in my youth, a legend in his own time… Moshe Dayan. But you know, we Israelis are iconoclasts. Usually, we tear apart our heroes. And he had his weaknesses and his faults. And so, though he was loved and lauded for years, he was also berated and insulted while he was still alive. I walk along this street almost every day, and I often think of him. He was quite a character. But he’s been gone for a while now, and I wonder if the young people on the street know who he was at all. I think, after I finish writing this, I’ll have a drink in his memory.