loving Jerusalem


As I mentioned in my previous post, last week, and part of this week I’ve been ill with the flu. And I’m not really a very good patient. What’s a good patient? Well, first of all, he’s patient. He waits patiently while his internal defense mechanisms… and the medicines, if he’s given any… fight off the invasion of microbes or virus that have infected his body, and while he’s waiting, he reads a good book, stares out the window at the winter beauty freezing the life out of plant and animal… and diligently drinks his whisky for its anti biotic effect.


But as I said, I’m not a good patient. And this time, it was even worse than usual. Because the flu hit me smack in my throat, and I was having trouble swallowing, let alone the pain and sorrow of the event… I wasn’t able to apply the whisky treatment which is so much a part of the proper healthy approach to illness. I couldn’t even swallow the pills my doctor prescribed for my heart disease. It was what people of a certain age call ‘challenging’. Moreover, I have a tendency to get very pessimistic when I am ill. I have been known to make proclamations like. ‘this is the end’, and ‘there’s no way out from here’ when under attack from microbes. You see, they’re so small. They hit you in the guts and you feel it. But when you try to hit them back, you don’t even see them. It’s frustrating. And that’s what happened this time too.


And since I happened to be in temporary lodgings with an angelic woman who had been steadily spoiling me for the past three months, it occurred to me that maybe I had died and gone to heaven. Yet on the other hand… was it at all possible that you’d get the flu in heaven? So it became clear to me that regardless of the euphoria, I was still in the real world and living the life after all. And if that was the case, I had to consider… just how long could a Jerusalemite live outside of Jerusalem till his heart began to break? My new apartment still hadn’t been set up and arranged. The project looked ‘long term’. I felt disconnected from my roots and despondent. So I made a call to my friends in Jerusalem, and told them that though I was having a marvelous time, I just couldn’t bear the exile any longer.


Within a day they had found me an apartment to rent in my beloved city. Of course, it was overpriced. But what do you expect when you make these on the spot life changes? And the apartment was nothing more than one rather large room with kitchen and bathroom. But it had a high ceiling and lots of windows overlooking the street in one of my favorite neighborhood. And it has wifi too. Plus television and cable service. I pulled the TV and cable modem out of the sockets as soon as I arrived, and that gave me two extra electrical sockets, which I took as a first good sign. The apartment itself hadn’t been repaired or improved upon in the last hundred years, so it had that very Jerusalem feel to it. How lucky can you get? And since parking in this area is also a matter of luck, I get a lot of exercise just walking to the apartment after I’ve found a parking space somewhere in the very general vicinity. Which means a lot of healthy exercise.


On my second day in town, Janne came over to help me do the shopping, and Rivka arrived to encourage me on my return to my evil old ways. Family and friends started dropping by. Yesterday, I did my restart shower. That’s a shower that lasts so long you forget you were ever sick, and come back to the world as a new born babe. That’s how I feel right now. As if I was reborn. And the illustrations I’ve published here, are of my new environment. It’s not the ‘new home’ yet. Who knows if I’ll live to see it. But it does feel good to be back in my old home town.


Please forgive me for not answering comments or letters. I’ve been ill. But I do plan to get to that in the coming week.


103 responses to “loving Jerusalem

  1. Well done, Shimon. Very well done. You have lovely friends too.

  2. I am so glad to hear this dear Shimon, sounds you are happy now with your new place. Please take care of yourself, 🙂 get well soon. Thank you, love, nia

    • Well, Nia… the new place does have some disadvantages… including a door that won’t close right… part of life, I suppose, is learning to live with imperfection. But on the whole, things are all right, and my health is definitely improving. Thanks.

  3. Fabulous pictures. The winter sun is a special light….I was trying to see if I could detect anything familiar to identify, at least roughly, where you have plonked yourself for the time being. 🙂

    Glad to hear that the impatient patient, even a whisky-less one, is getting back to heaven on earth. I sincerely hope that the whisky was a good single malt one.
    If you are allowed to accept it, … X, a big one just for you.

    • Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Menhir. Where I’m staying now, is what is called the ‘German Colony’, a very nice neighborhood on the southern side of Jerusalem. And I’m very happy to inform you that the throat is back to normal, and I’m now able to swallow my whisky, which has definitely added to my good spirits. xxx

      • The German Colony… We have explored there and ate a great schnitzel in a restaurant in the Colony. It is a bonny and vibrant locality with lovely buildings. We liked it very much. We found similar vibrancy in The German Colony in Haifa. Xxx

  4. I think we’ve all missed your posts, and so it is lovely to hear from you again. From the land which produces the best whisky (scotland), keep consuming our health drink!

    • I don’t know if many people realize that the word for wine, which is very similar in all the European languages comes from the Hebrew word, because we were pioneers in that realm. But I can assure you that I have often blessed the Scotch on their contribution to civilization. Ah, it truly gladdens the heart! Thanks, Harry.

  5. I can feel the joy and connectedness in the photos, Shimon: warmth and light and lovely compositions…joy and continued healing…there’s no place like home. And no need to reply. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Kitty. You know, I don’t answer out of a sense of obligation, but because I love these conversations with my fellows. And yes, things are definitely getting better every day. I smile.

  6. Good to see some brightness back in your photos and your writing Shimon, I can hear the sense of relief in you in being back home. I found the first photo particularly appealing – the still raise pond with the dark tiles. Beautifully designed and delivered. a perfect spot I think to sit and reflect.

    • That’s one of the things I love about Jerusalem, Claire. So very often, the environment is an inspiration for me. I never lived in this neighborhood, but I used to work here for many years, so it’s a neighborhood I know well and love. Thanks.

  7. If only I could dash across to you and speed up the moving to the new apartment!!! There is no place like home and I’m SO glad to hear you are back where you belong. I totally understand, it would be like me living somewhere without a garden or some greenery, I would suffocate.
    I’m so HAPPY to hear you are feeling better, positivity shines through your words which is lovely for me to feel. It’s like fresh air! Good luck in your new place and may your apartment come to fruition soon Sending you love and hugs!xxx

    • Ah… the great move… it defies all rationality… as if, after living 40 years in one place, the earth itself, and all the means at the disposal of my friends are balking and snorting. But despite myself, I see it as a great adventure. So moving from place to place I’m making up for experiences I missed along the way. Thanks for the good wishes, Dina, and the love and hugs. I send them to you too, and appreciate your solidarity, my friend. xxx

  8. It looks wonderful Shimon. I hope you are settling down well and feeling better. It certainly looks like you are enjoying your (new) neighbourhood. There certainly is no place like home.

  9. I’m so glad you’re still alive and well, dear Shimon…and closer to the home where your heart is. You have my wishes for a more speedy recovery…and my thanks for your heavenly angel to have nurtured you along so well.

  10. I feel the joy in your words and your photos, Shimon. Your shots speak to me of vibrant life in your beloved city. So glad for you!

  11. Glad you’re feeling better Shimon. Good luck in the new apartment.

    • Thanks, Edith. And I do feel like I’m getting back to normal. Turns out there were a lot of people ill with the flu…after giving me a strangle hold, it seems to be moving on…

  12. I’m sorry to hear about your illness – best wishes for a full recovery very soon – but delighted to note that you have not lost your sense of humour. Do hope that your new flat feels like home as quickly as possible. You’re already enjoying being back – this must help with recovery! I enjoy the photos – the trees and the shadows are particularly lovely.

    • It is a great joy to be back in my home town. And isn’t humor the best defense? Glad you liked the photos, Gill. The last few days we’ve been having rain and clouds, so I haven’t shot much… but this is a very colorful neighborhood.

  13. So glad you are back in Jerusalem where you are happy and at peace. I hope you are feeling better too; being sick really wears the spirit out quickly.

    • You’re so right, Kari Ann. But I think this return to my beloved city has really given me a boost of good spirits. And with it, there’s been a clear improvement in my health. Thanks.

  14. I am so happy for you…your spirits sounds like they are lifted and the photographs of your neighbourhood are spectacular! Bless you during this New Year…and your new birth…I think that tonight I will take the shower that you mention.

    • Yes Kathleen, after a difficult couple of weeks, things are beginning to fall into place. I do hope your shower did for you what mine did for me. Isn’t it wonderful?! Happy New Year.

  15. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    I am glad to see you are better
    and what a gift to have such wonderful friends…
    you are very blessed
    Take Care…You Matter…

  16. Illness has a way of focusing our attentions on what is the thing that is troubling us the most, so I am very happy to hear that your illness resulted in your decision to end your exile. I will be even more pleased when you are able to (hopefully) spend more time with your beloved Nechama, as you explore this new home environment, and get back to the business of living your life in Jerusalem. Very relieved to hear you are feeling better, and that your restart shower has helped wash away the remnants of the flu. Thanks for sharing the photos. Be well, and celebrate your new surroundings.

    • I agree with you, N. It’s especially when things are not going well… when we’re not feeling well, that we’re most likely to do some soul searching. Living this life is in many ways like traveling on the road. Things come up… sometimes we’re not prepared for what happens. But if we want to keep going, we have to deal with the problems along the way. I feel like this business of leaving my old home has been a learning experience. Nechama is living with one of my sons, Gamliel, and with his family. Gamliel and his beautiful wife have seven children and a cat of their own, so it’s a learning experience for Nechama too. She never used to like children, so I’m waiting to see if she’s changed some of her notions when we get together again. Thanks for your comment.

  17. I enjoyed this post very Shimon. I’m so glad you’re on the mend physically and mentally by the sound of things. It’s always good to be home and I’m sure you’ll make your new apartment just that in a very short time!
    האָבן אַ רעסטפאַל און ענדזשויאַבאַל שבת

    • Thank you very much, Chillbrook. It is very strange this business of making one’s home after years and years of living in a place that eventually seemed part of me…
      שבוע טוב חברי, ואיחולים לבריאות ואושר

  18. It’s hard to be a patient patient, but I’m glad to hear you are on the mend and have been able to return home. A tent at home is better than a mansion in a foreign country.

    • Yes, I would surely cosign that statement. Not just because I’ve always had a romantic feeling about tents… but because we need so little space, if we really feel at home. Good to see you, yearstricken.

  19. Welcome home and feel better.

  20. Well, I really like the feel of your neighborhood. I came here to hunt for you. The thought that you were sick haunted the back of my head for several days so I just gave up and trotted on over here to find you. And, I must say that I found you well enough. The photographs are cheerful and bright and colorful and don’t look like winter, thank goodness! I’m happy the flu didn’t do you in! You are so very stubborn that I worried you wouldn’t take proper care. Deano tried curing his flu one year with Wild Turkey. Finally, after three days, he decided the whiskey was the cause of his feeling bad! He stopped that treatment and was fine! 🙂 I’m happy that you are back home. You’ll be fine among your friends there. Don’t worry about responding to any comments. Nobody minds, and everybody is happy to see you back!

    • How good of you to think of me, George. I think we have more color in winter than they do in Europe. There are always some trees that stay green and flowers too. But even so, winter has a different look… and just the look of winter can get me feeling cold… or sad at times. Wild Turkey is a good drink. We don’t see it around here much, but I’ve had it now and then and enjoyed it. This was a lousy sick though… not only couldn’t I drink whisky. I couldn’t even drink tea. But I’m back on my feet again, and feeling much better.

  21. Ah Shimon …. So very good to see the old sense of humor crawling back out of the misery of a recalcitrant bout of flu and showing itself so delightfully in this post. Not being able to take a sip of whiskey … or in my case … a bite of chocolate … makes the burden of sickness even more unbearable.
    But then there’s the wonderful subtle awareness of “getting better ‘ …. and nothing like a good long shower or bath to wash away all the misery and rev the engines. I sometimes take a long bath with Epson salts and then pull the plug as i close my eyes and feel the water draining away and taking with it my misery.
    In Hawaii we use the ocean to “wash away” sickness or negativity if we’ve had a bad day. We go out into the ocean until the water laps at our chin and then we close our eyes and relax our bodies into the motion of the water … which is easy since it’s salty sea water.

    We call it “hi’iwai” ….. which means “water carry”.

    So glad you’re feeling better … a wonderful post!

    • Very interesting to hear of the Hawaiian version of the water purification. My people used to build special baths for spiritual purification thousands of years ago… and some of them are rediscovered even now. It was an ancient practice. We call it mikveh But old works for newbies too. It’s timeless. Thanks Nikki for sharing, and my best wishes for the taste of chocolate on your tongue just when you need it, and health and wholeness always.

      • Oh Shimon …. I’m laughing so hard. I just popped a piece of chocolate into my mouth as I turned on my computer and opened my blog messages.
        Serendipity … coincidence … confluence of events. I love it!

  22. Came back for a second look at your lovely photos. Hope your feeling much better now.

  23. Glad you’re feeling better and that you’ve found a flat in your beloved city at last. Welcome back.

  24. Kathryn Marmalade

    Trust the unknown force that grew you,
    From the joining of two cells.
    Act of love, of self giving,
    Thus to grow a newer self.

    Trust the dark,the unseen aspects
    Of the life we all do live.
    Trust that there is wisdom elsewhere,
    To your emptiness to give.

    Wait in patience for the time
    When inspiration comes at last
    Trust in darkness,silence,lowness.
    Opposition forms the cross.

    Pain is bearable in lowness,
    Like the worm in earth I dwell.
    When I look I see the sunrise

    And I trust all shall be well

  25. Whisky has anti biotic effect? I knew it, Shimon. I’ve been saying something similar for years but no one will believe me.
    Get well soon and thanks for the photos.

    • Glad you like the pictures Mary. Don’t know why people don’t believe you… If you think about it, they used to use alcohol to sterilize needles before giving a shot (now, of course, everything is for one time use). Alcohol brings cleanliness and purity. I feel it every time I take a drink…

  26. I’m very happy for you. The light and shadow in these photos are beautiful, a reflection of an improved mood. And your wit is in evidence – a good sign!

  27. Your temporary neighborhood seems to be an energetic place and I would love to take walks there! It also looks very safe. Every time I see your photos, I wish I were well enough to move–and a 100-year-old apartment is right up my alley. I live in a rather ugly room with a kitchenette and bathroom (and 1 pitiful window) and you’d be surprised how little space one needs once the cabin fever dissipates. I wonder how you will find it in time? Well, there would be no place for your library so good thing it’s just temporary.

    I sure relate to your feelings about illness–even if that’s temporary too (and do hope you’re on the mend). All of my health issues are due to a genetic mutation in the DNA of every cell in my body, hence a genetic disease. Try to get your mind around that! My hope is that the Israeli scientists will find a cure one day via gene therapy since the US is so behind in the sciences these days. We really are just stuck in these bodies of ours I tell you, but no one realizes that until they break down like an old car. I do love the whisky comment. Very funny, Shimon. You sound to be in good spirits back in your city of Yerushalayim. 🙂

    Leah xx

    • It’s my impression that Jerusalem is safer beyond comparison to any American city. The worst that can happen here is that you get snide comments if you’re immodestly dressed. I would love to take a walk with you here. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all about how much space one person needs, Leah. I feel very good in relatively small spaces. Though I have to admit that this room I have now has very beautiful big windows… five of them, and the view is a pleasure for me, at least. But you’re right. It has no room for my library or many of the artifacts I have collected over the years. Makes me wonder if I don’t have too many possessions.

      I am very sorry about your suffering from disease. If only I could help you. But it is true, that we can change things at times just by the way we relate to different aspects of our life. Very glad to think that my whisky comments brought you a smile. Sending you good spirits from Jerusalem…

      • Thank you, Shimon. I can picture your apartment and it sounds wonderful. I, too, love grandiose windows and old architecture, not that we have that in the American desert. We’ll take a walk one day when science catches up and I can get out again and fly all the way there; I only wear jeans so hopefully won’t get any snide comments (the least of my worries).

        • My dear Leah, in my country we say, ‘pornography is a matter of geography’. And I suppose the same is true of modesty. In my beloved city, it is considered extremely immodest for a woman to wear pants. So there’s no doubt in my mind, that in certain neighborhoods here, you would indeed get snide comments. But then, that is one of the dangers of visiting foreign territory. But you will be safe. And I for one won’t criticize you… for I try to be open minded…

          • Oh no! That’s why I could never go to Chabad here. It’s the polar opposite in Latin America, where I once lived and was a conservative dresser apparently. The odd thing is I went to a Muslim country once (I know, I know) and no one cared! Well, no long skirts for me, so I’ll have to rethink the whole aliyah thing when the miracle cure comes. Glad you’re open-minded… We may want to act like American cowboys from a John Wayne movie and then what? 🙂

            • There are big differences between the different cities and villages of our country. You might find yourself a lot more at home in Tel Aviv.

              • I figured, as the ultra-Orthodox are separated in the US, as well. I’ve never met Israelis here who were very religious and always hear how secular it is there, although I did know one family from Jerusalem that had been there for generations, but again, just Conservative (barely).

                I think Tel Aviv would be very beautiful, but until the humidity leaves my body alone, I’m stuck in the desert–hence my idea of hunkering down by the Dead Sea in a big, Bedouin tent and living like a hermit with my cat. Plus, you could visit and smoke all you want as I wouldn’t have any walls! Haha. Thanks for the inside view, Shimon.

              • There are many different attitudes and religious inclinations in Israel. I would say that about half of the population is either religious or traditional. Tel Aviv is the most secular of all places, with a very liberal attitude towards differences, gender questions, and social behavior… but as it happens, I have a great love for the desert too. And there are some small towns and villages that I’m sure you would love in the desert, that are not primarily religious… that are more secular than traditional. I could recommend Arad for one… though there are many really beautiful places. Jerusalem is the stronghold of the religious. And we are considered less tolerant here. But even in Jerusalem, there are neighborhoods where you can wear jeans, and no one will even notice.

  28. I heard you have been unwell. I hope they look after you and allow you to continue your great human postings.

    • How nice of you to come by and pay a sick call, Pete. Always good to hear from you. Yes, I’ve been down for a while, but it looks like things are truly improving now. Thanks.

  29. It’s good to hear that you are on the mend. What a lovely neighbourhood for you to be living in temporarily. I do hope you won’t have to wait too long before your permanent home is ready for you.

    • I had the feeling, from the time this idea of a new home came up… that it was too big a project for me. But once I agreed to it, I was in limbo… and I have no idea how long this will last… especially since I’m not playing an active part in the circus. But meantime, I’ve been learning some great lessons. Thanks for your good wishes, Andy. And yes, feeling much better.

  30. Glad to hear you are on the mend. And good luck the new (temporary) accommodation!

  31. Wonderful feeling… being back where to love to be and belive to belong to. Most of the time you do not need large spaces… everything is there .. within us, always together with us… 🙂 all the best for this new year!!

    • No, I don’t think I need a lot of space… though I have amassed an amazing amount of possessions over the years. Just the books alone, are about as heavy as the house… But maybe I should move them all to a library and visit with them occasionally. This move gives me an opportunity to reconsider a lot of things I’ve taken for granted.

      • Certainly this is a great idea … I never thought of the opportunity to put my books in a library with access to all!
        A little more time… and also for me it will be time to think about living in a space more appropriate… 🙂

        • Not such a perfect idea, actually… libraries are on the decline. Here in Jerusalem, the neighborhood libraries are open for less hours than they used to be, because the students use computers now… and seem to have less use for libraries. Who knows if they too will become a part of the past one of these days… But in my life, they played a central role.

  32. Good to hear you are getting back to normal. Enjoy your new home and the view our the window.

  33. Patience? Being surrounded with such good friends, I’d be in ‘ill health heaven’ ‘cos my friends would be looking after me, and I could relax and get better! Does that sound ridiculous….one must give them an opportunity to help you. But, why do you keep moving house? I’d got the impression your life with Janne was a permanent thing. Anyway, Happy New Year, shimon; may health, contentment, great quarters and good whisky keep you healthy forever more!

    • The whole business started with a decision to move to a nicer home in what my friends thought was a better (neighboring) neighborhood. It’s been a long process, and It’s not over yet. Janne remains a very dear friend… but so far, her house is hers… and mine is a naive hope… or not… we’ll have to see…

  34. I don’t know who can be patient when he/she is sick… I think you’ve adjusted the relocation amazingly well and been very patient! How nice to have a friend like Janne!

    • Yes, I have been blessed in many ways… but continue to show my mean nature by complaining at the least discomfort… and whining when it hurts (smile)… ah, human folly.

  35. Shimon, my friend, we do hope that you are on the mend. It looks that way.

    I love your description of the restart shower. What a perfect name for it. Recharge, restart, reborn. Some days require one of those.

    • Seems to me that we need gates for all kinds of things… including mental states… to move from one state to another… actually the bath is a very ancient Jewish tradition for spiritual purification, and special baths were always with us… in the holy land and in exile, for that purpose… Thanks, Bill

  36. I’m so glad to hear of your rebirth, Shimon! Far better than languishing unto death; apparently reports of your demise *were* premature, I’m happy to know! Welcome Home.

    • Thanks, Kathryn. Wonderful to see your radiant smile this morning. Good thing I didn’t hear those reports of my demise. I would have been convinced at once, and rolled into my grave with one last sigh…

  37. I’m really pleased for you, Shimon. It looks like a great neighbourhood, and sounds like it was a very good shower – are you recovered now?

    • Yes, I’m feeling pretty good now. Still have a few pains and aches that just don’t want to leave… but I took a long walk yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Getting back to normal life now. Thanks.

  38. I’m so happy that you’re on the mend, and back in your beloved city, SimonZ. The walking exercise will do you the world of good. What great and caring friends you have. So very blessed. 🙂 xx

  39. Oh, Shimon, I had a feeling I should check on you. And here I find you, ill, displaced, but in a very entertaining humor and very well-loved. It makes me smile to see how so many have come to comfort you.
    I’ve been ill before, and never as bright and courageous as you present yourself, here.
    And I love Jerusalem, too.

    • Very sweet of you to check me out, and to see the positive. I know that is characteristic of you, and appreciate it very much. The humor started coming back when my health was improving… there were a few days there where I just had to shut up, so as not to say anything I’d regret later on… assuming there was a later on. But now life is getting better by the day. I’m sure you love Jerusalem too. It might not be the most beautiful or well organized city, but I always am happiest when I’m back here in my home town. Thanks, Katharine.

  40. I love your sense of humour towards yourself Shimon – I myself have experienced long periods of illness in my life, but have never really got much better at dealing with it – I think when you love life so much it’s hard to feel trapped by your body, and prevented from getting out and living it! Fantastic though that it led you back home, and what wonderful friends you are blessed with!

    • Maybe i need to drink more whiskey?! 🙂

    • Thank you very much, settleandchase. It is very hard to keep a perspective when the body bogs down… and it’s usually in those circumstances, that we lose our emotional equilibrium as well. I’m back on my feet again, fortunately… but find it very hard to catch up to all the work, and communications that happened while I was down. Appreciate your comment. And yes, friends are truly a saving grace.

  41. great writing and photos-you take my mind to your homeland- and that is awesome-I am glad you are better from the awful flu-whiskey is a great remedy for many ills- hobo

    • Thanks very much, hobo. Glad that you find interest in my tale. After years of great stability, I’m going through some rough sailing these days. The flu is behind me, but on other levels, I’ve got more adventure than I would normally choose. Still, it all seems part of life… the story continues, surprising me from time to time, chapter by chapter…

  42. bestofbarbara,word press.com

    Hope you are feeling better. Getting sick is like money in the bank. When you are young you have the reserves to recover. When you are older the reserves are few and the anxieties are many. Happy thatyou liked my post.

    • I was luck, I suppose… life got easier for me as I grew older… had many more anxieties when I was young. Wishing you the very best Barbara. Always good to read your opinions.

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