rooms of our home

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Our city is our home on a larger scale… There are rooms for intimacy, and rooms for study. Bed rooms, and entertainment halls. There are dives in which to lose ourselves to dreams and fantasies, and subconscious urges… and holy places where the whole includes that which is beyond us.

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mother and daughter

There’s the toilet, and the laundry room, and the balcony that looks out at the world around us… and the kitchen, and the dining room, and the salon where friends meet. There’s the store room, where we pick up what physical objects we need, if we can find them… the rooms with somber quiet, and the rooms with screams of excitement…

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synagogue

There are the halls we go through on the way from one place to another, and the chamber where we shine our shoes, or brush our hair. The TV room or the cinema… the children’s playroom, and that for the adults… and the sickroom, the dying room, and the room for giving birth.

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Some spend their time in art galleries… while others pass through halls, barely noticing the art hung there as decoration, meant to inspire the imagination as we go along our way to something else. There are work rooms and libraries… And high tech labs, and virtual rooms.

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There are those who like to read on the toilet. Some have sex there. Others prefer to be left alone there. Many like to hang out in rooms where you can stay in your underwear. And then there are those who prefer the rooms that demand that you come in suit and tie.

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Some like the rooms where people talk only in a whisper. Others like a never ending stream of music. And there are folk that breathe best on the balcony… mostly outside, but still attached to the home. It can be a venue for solitude or for love making; a place to gather with friends for sipping wine or drinking tea.

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Each of us can best judge the city by those rooms he or she most prefers. Some people have a favorite room, a favorite corner, a favorite chair… and you can mostly find them there. Others like to move around, take in the sights, enjoy the variety. There are some rooms you have to visit now and then. And others you may never see.

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The scenes in these photos are from the sick rooms of our city. There is no discrimination here. The young and old mingle in the hallways, and find solace in the compassion of healthy people who care enough to spend their time nursing and healing people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. The ill too, have access to the sacred, to study halls, art and play. I sat in the coffee shop, and had a double espresso and some cheese cake.

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66 responses to “rooms of our home

  1. This is was so nice to describe a city like a home…I haven’t thought like that before, I loved it. Thank you dear Shimon, they are all beautiful photographs and seems that the weather was nice too. Have a nice weekend, love, nia

    • Yes the weather was beautiful that day, Nia. Right now we’re enjoying the first storm of winter, and it is very cold and rainy in Jerusalem. Not much fun going out… and pictures would mostly be through windows… but I can’t seem to get worked up enough to photograph anything. Though I’m sure that there will soon be more beautiful days. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Home scaled by ShimonZ. Nice.

  3. Lovely photographs and a wonderful metaphor to see your city once again through your always-young eyes, Shimon. Thank you. I am spending my day supervising a high school library: another room, andother story. Your words brightened my day, and I am grateful.

    Gentle peace to your week’s end and Shabbat, dear friend.

    • Libraries were always my home away from home, Kitty. Until the digital revolution. I still visit once in a while… but the character of the institution has changed somewhat. I see people with computers at the desks. Computers too have become a part of that world. But the hours are much shorter, and many of the regulars are missing. I imagine it’s a little different in a school library. Still, it sounds like a wonderful job… one I would enjoy.

  4. I really enjoyed this. It gives me a new view of my own city….and yes it is like a home – one that caters to just about every need and want.
    Thank you dear Shimon….wishing you and Nechama a lovely weekend. Janet. xx

    • Thank you so much, Janet. I’ve been a little late coming to the comments on this post… turbulence in my own life. And I’m sure that you too see the world as layers of systems within systems, all of which are interwoven in some way. As you’ve said on a number of occasions, everything is interconnected. When we’re young, we often feel the need to discover the world. And after a while… we can let the world come to us. I think that’s an important part of the magic of the internet… that for young and old, we have contact with the whole world without being too exposed to the elements. worth a smile. xxx

  5. Hello Shimon, I love your insights into all of this! – And my favorite would be to be with you having that double espresso and cheese cake.

    • Yes, you’re a true adventurer, Vicky… coming all the way to Jerusalem. We’re having rainy weather and something of a storm today. Much to photograph for the brave. I’m inside, though, and bundled up. Best wishes to you.

  6. My home town fits your description as it has rooms for every way I wish to spend my day. There are some rooms that are more comfortable than others, but all serve a purpose. It’s a beautiful place to live.

    • I’m happy for you, Bev, that you feel so at home in your home town. Unfortunately, some people have found themselves alienated from the modern city, and it makes life quite a bit harder. A good relationship with our environment is an important part of our well being.

  7. I hope you were in these rooms only to visit and photograph — and to delight in the pleasure of your espresso and cheesecake. Taken together, they remind me of the great Texas Medical Center, where I once lived and worked. Such places are cities within cities, and they do, indeed, provide everything that a more traditional city provides: traffic and a lack of parking spaces, particularly!

    I especially noticed the curves of the sculpture and synagogue in the midst of so much purposeful angularity. It seems quite pleasing.

    • In our culture, visiting the sick is considered a very important precept. On the other hand, though we do have socialized medicine, and medical care is free, I try to stay away from doctors and medicines. Only in a dire emergency, am I willing to accept their help. And because I don’t usually frequent such places, I am always impressed by the ‘city within a city’, as you describe it. Wishing you good health always.

  8. What an enchanting tour of your home. 🙂 Thank you for sharing it.

  9. Almost like your cell phones GPS took you on a roam. Being a hospital person, made it different for me. Loved that statuary, especially the grey shark tooth like one with a body in it. Happy to see you writing and exploring. Too much Israel on our news. Wish I could calm it all down. I hope your visit to the hospital, was only for espresso and cheesecake.

    • One of the first reasons I started writing a blog, Bob, was that after I saw the way Israel was reflected in the international news, I felt that people really get a twisted picture of what life is like here. We get a lot of journalists here. Even when they’re covering other countries in the middle east, they often make their home base in Israel, because it is safe and free… and you can find most of the comforts of western life here. But for some reason, which I have yet to understand, I often feel a certain hostility in their reports about Israel. And there is so much that they just plain don’t understand about our culture.

  10. Enjoyed reading the rooms of our home. It is nice to see these rooms from your perspective. Have a great day, Mr. Shimon.

  11. I enjoyed thinking of a city as rooms in our home, I would never have thought of that. What beautiful art the hospital grounds has, I loved that picture of the pot in the first picture, and the tabby cat, ahhh yes, the cats are everywhere in Israel…..I have never seen a cat in the city, usually it’s just pigeons.
    It sounds like you were visiting someone, or taking someone to hospital, I hope so anyway and that all is well with you. xxx

    • Oh, I think I would feel a bit lonely in a city without cats… aside from the fact that cats tend to teach pigeons a bit of respect. And unlike dogs, horses, and pigeons, cats are discreet about taking care of nature’s obligations… so it’s a pleasure living along side of them in the city. Our city has much less sculpture than most European cities, because many of the religious among us confuse art with idol worship, unfortunately. So it’s especially good that there still are some enclaves where art is an integral part of the environment. Always so good to find your comments, Dina. Wishing you health and happiness every day. xxx

  12. I like this idea, of our city being like a home with rooms! I shall think about that some more, and see if I can apply it here.

    • Thank you Gill. I think it’s true of all cities. But I think that in all environments, there are places where we feel best… and others which we visit less often, or avoid altogether. Having moved recently, I am sure you’re more sensitive to the urban environment now.

  13. You have inspired me to think out and beyond my favorite room and corner of the world.. Thank you Shimon, so nice to hear from you…

  14. Wonderfully and imaginatively wrought Shimon – our cities as rooms, rooms within rooms and places where it matters little whether or not you want to be there, you just are. These pictures were so enticing tho’ I must admit to being brought up a bit short when I read that they were all taken from a hospital. At that point, I sent up a prayer that whoever you were visiting is well on the road to healing.

    • Thank you very much, Mimi. I’ve always felt that one of the first things a city can teach us, is that in a healthy world, it’s not ‘every man for himself’. And how wonderful it is, to see people who are ill or disabled enjoying special comforts, and a warm supportive environment. Special thanks for your good wishes to the ill.

  15. Super images Shimon and a pleasure to see some of your city. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    • And thanks to you too, Chillbrook. We photographers are often challenged by things that move us, but are difficult to present in a two dimensional image. I can imagine that you feel that way sometimes, when encountering some of the more thrilling aspects of the scenery you capture. At the sea, for instance, the smell of the salt water and the fish… or the cold that bites at your skin… the photograph can’t convey the many subtleties of such a scene. Sometimes I feel like that when shooting in my city. There are the moods associated with certain places… and often and often, peeking behind a wall could reveal a whole world which remains hidden.

  16. Very true. A good city should be able to accommodate all sort of characters, just like a caring home or a school.

    • So true, Fatima. As we move out from our own little corner or room, we find an infinite array of creatures, and each one with a world of his own. And as much as we explore, there is always more. It can be a great adventure.

  17. Creative, unique and only as you can do it, Shimon. As I’ve said before, you always make me think. I enjoyed to photos of your beloved Jerusalem on a gloriously sunny day. It feels crisp and clear – and I love the stories you tell both with your words and through your lens.

    • Hi Cathy. So glad you enjoyed this very special visit in our city. I’m so grateful to be a part of this city I love, and to share it with my friends. Today is a very different day. Rainy and stormy. But I’m thinking of sharing another view of my city this weekend. But fortunately, the pictures are already waiting. It’s not a place I would want to photograph in this weather. Thanks for your comment.

  18. Beautiful photos, capturing a magical place. Thank you.

  19. … and then there are the rooms of the “heart”… and those of the “mind”… ones easier to find and those hard to discover… there are the rooms of ones secrets and these of the gossip… ones with lock and keys… others with padlocks… and ones that remain open and anyone can enter.
    After all, each room has its own importance, always subjective, so it is nice that every being is different from the other! A hug and serenity :-)c

    • Thanks so much, Claudine, for adding some very important words to my post. All of what you say, is a very important part of our home on many levels. Recently, I have been going through some turbulent times, and I’ve been having dreams that slip away very quickly immediately when I awake. And these are the rooms of secrets, it seems, within my own body and mind… secrets which I am not ready to face. So they reveal themselves and are gone. Thank you very much for your comment.

      • Certainly, dear Shimon… “dreams” ARE related to our subconscious, connected in some way to the universal consciousness.
        If we believe that we are “energy” to a specific vibrational level (in which we’re allowed into materiality) so the attempt to discover the life that lies beneath the outward forms of this reality, allowing viewing the abyss in which the symbolic nature of all that exists is revealed, this attempt is important for us today as it was for the ancient mystics. You know the Kabbalah? I’m not an erudite in these esoteric things, but I admit that they always have a place of honor in my novels…
        As I said, I’m alike Chrysalis Bartók, a dreamer…
        Have a nice afternoon :-)claudine

        • Yes indeed, I am in agreement with you. As to the Kabbalah, it’s a field of learning that is very much misunderstood, because in order to appreciate it on needs to be well learned in certain other areas as well. In my reading, some of the worst misinterpretations have been connected to that subject. As for dreamers… they are a gift.

  20. Wonderfully creative, Shimon. I love the way you think. I hope you and yours are ok. And I hope you enjoyed that cheese cake.

    • Yes, I did enjoy the cheese cake, and yes… my loved ones and myself, we are all doing fine, though of course there are ups and downs in life, and we have to learn to go with the motion, so as not to suffer from sea sickness. Wishing you too, health and happiness, Angeline.

  21. I love the way you think, too, Shimon. What is that statue? It somehow makes me think of child bearing.

    • Thank you very much, Mary. When it comes to art, I usually try and let it speak for itself… and so often it touches people differently, and each person can connect to another aspect of the work. It seems to me that the more different interpretations we have of a particular work of art, the greater the art.

  22. I like the imagery.I hope you were not at the hospital because you are ill.They are often at the edge of the city as they are not places many wish to see or think about.And sometimes they feel like prisons.
    Sometimes the toilet is the only place one can be private.It used to happen that in cities gay men would meet in public toilets and so many were shut down.But now it is legal but it’s not very nice for a man going in when they are waiting for a person who wants sex with them.
    In the new film about Alan Turing just out we will see how this brilliant man was driven to suicide when he only had sex privately at home.Despite his war time work solving the enigma code he was treated badly.
    So I think they should be left alone as long as they keep it private and I feel the same about heterosexuals too.
    In the hospital as you say there is birth and death.It used to be at home.

    • Very glad you liked the images, Ethel. What you say is very interesting. When first I heard and read of the accomplishments of Alan Turing, it didn’t occur to me to wonder about his sex interests or what he did in bed. It was his mind that interested me, and his ability to transcend the mysterious by way of logic. But then when the internet came along, I learned so much that I wouldn’t have sought out on my own. I suppose that’s a part of the information highway that we celebrate these days. You know, my father and mother loved each other very much. And though I was part of their intimate family, I only saw them touch each other three times in my life. Perhaps this is part of the reason that it is so easy for me to love many of my fellow men… without knowing all the details.

  23. Outstanding descriptions about a city through analogies, metaphors, and wit.

  24. Wonderful post of the rooms we live in … Thank you

  25. That is creativity… discovering similarities between things which appear to be different or vice versa.And it made me feel how we are connected to others by these public rooms in the city or the hospital.Our own rooms might connect us to our deeper selves if we are fortunate.A new way of seeing things is rewarding.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Katherine. And I agree with you that our own rooms are a very good way to connect to certain abstract and sometimes subconscious aspects of ourselves. For those of us who don’t care that much for mirrors, our personal rooms reflect some of the things about us that we might not have noticed.

  26. As is often the case, this post sent me away to think about it for a while before coming back to comment. Even now, I’m not sure my brain and my fingers are up to the task. I was moved by your comparison of rooms in our home to the familiar places we’ve come to inhabit in our world, and your descriptions and photos were, as always, a beautiful blend of artistry.

    The last sentence is an open-ended conversation, and it is my hope that you will continue the conversation. I know that when you write, you usually do it in a deliberate way, so the fact that you’ve ended with a mystery, is not only intentional, but serves the purpose of your bigger story.

    The ability to allow the reader to envision a multitude of interpretations is one of the things I’ve always liked about your writing. It takes a certain amount of skill to leave some questions, and not always provide a beginning, middle, and end. No easy answers. Most of the time, we prefer to bend the reader in one direction or another, and using your words intentionally in an open-ended way points towards subtle questions, and what are we, if not curious creatures? Always asking questions.

    • You’ve touched on a very interesting subject, Nancy. And it doesn’t surprise me that I’ve approached the same subject twice already in comments referring to this post. The question, is how much to tell. And I think it applies to life in general too. But it is more critical in art. It seems to me that we can safely assume that we never really know the whole story. There is always more to find if we keep digging. And once we realize that, we have to wonder about the pleasures and the dangers of the illusion that we know it all. It’s like the famous ‘happily ever after’ in children’s stories. Of course, people never do live happily ever after. And what is true about a story is also true about the plastic arts. I’ve always preferred the hint, which spurs the listener or watcher to discover the possibilities of the story in him or herself. That is one of the reasons I’ve preferred books to movies. When we read a book, we can imagine the faces, the tones of the voices, and much of the environment around them. When we’re watching most movies, everything is spelled out… and we find ourselves passively drinking it all in, and eating popcorn besides. As you know, I love getting comments from you, so I hope your fingers continue to serve you (and me) courageously. Which reminds me that recently I bought an eight inch tablet for trips (to reduce the weight of my backpack), and tried to write with one finger on the keyboard. What a pain that is. I’m still trying to learn the ways of the young. But I have already bought a Bluetooth keyboard. Thanks so much for your comment.

      • I’m sure you probably deduced from my comment that I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to read the comments left by your readers, or, for that matter, your responses to them. In fact, I’ve still got it bookmarked to come back to at a later time. Invariably I enjoy not only the comments that are left on your blog, but especially your corresponding responses, because I appreciate those little glimpses into what makes a person tick, or how their mind works. Often, it provides a perspective that might not have otherwise entered my mind, so in that way, it adds another layer to whatever the original subject matter might have been.

        Wishing you best of luck as you continue to learn to navigate the tiny version of the keyboard on your tablet. I’ve only recently learned how to take advantage of the voice-to-text feature on my phone, and have stumbled more than once or twice in the process, but sometimes, if I’m willing to backtrack for any mistakes that might sneak through, it does end up saving me time and frustration. It’s worth exploring, at least.

        • Well, there are a number of tricks that come along with modern technology, among which are voice to text, and another fine software that guesses the word you’re going to use after hitting one or two keys. But I guess that I’m just too old fashioned or stuck in my ways to really be able to take advantate of such things. I can’t bear to have anything interfere with my thinking process. So I just force myself to learn how to use the new device, and hope I’ll learn quickly.

  27. Beautiful photos and great perspective! Hope your cheese cake and espresso were as delightful as this post!

    • Thank you so much, Suzi. The coffee and cake were delicious. And the experience all the more enticing because there was so much else going on at that place. Thanks for your comment.

  28. Kathryn Braithwaite

    Our house had a toilet outside with no light,heat or lock.So we could not read and as 7 of us shared the house,others stood outside waiting sometimes.I think in the night the catmay have mated in there even though we told her it was illegal.It was either there or the coal shed.Unless she visited her pal who was very big and used to come in to look at her kittens after she gave birth.That’s the only time I’ve seen a tom cat show a paternal instinct.He only came once but knew his way round the yard.
    It’s ideas like this that stop me going mad.

    • Ah, there is so much that could be said of toilets, Kathryn. And it’s good that you’ve brought a little balance to our consideration with this recollection. Despite the fact that we have numerous negative associations with that particular room, there is an aura of magic and respect regarding it, if for no other reason than its privacy.

  29. I loved this, thank you…seeing your city through your compassionate and loving eyes. ❤

  30. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swype
    Shimon,kindle fire has this swype feature where you don’t lift your finger up but move continuously from one letter to the next.Then it guesses the word!It works quite well.
    As someone who has had to do grocery shopping on a 7 inch tablet I feel for you.:) They are very handy for some things but a very small chromebook is better and you don’t need security.Acer do a nice 11 inch touchscreen one which I like.But you store stuff on google drive on the cloud.That’s how they keep them safe and lightweight.

    • Thank you, Katherine. I’m glad to see that Swype supports the Hebrew language. But though I do have a number of these fine inventions available to me on my new tablet, I regret to say that the nature of these devices interferes with my thinking. And so I find it easiest for me to just pick out the letters. I have made progress though, and have also bought a miniature keyboard that connects to the tablet by bluetooth. For long and serious articles, I will continue to use a normal sized computer. But while traveling, I hope that the tablet will reduce the weight of what I carry around with me. Thanks for trying to help. By the way, I have already found numerous things I like about the new tablet.

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