home and garden

the garden behind my home

In the past, I’ve taken you along with me on many a walk, here in Jerusalem. Sometimes in my own neighborhood, and now and then, in other neighborhoods I love. Once, a long time past, I published a series on a number of different communities here. Yet often, after photographing a neighborhood, I feel a sense of frustration. I have such a love for this city… for almost every quarter and every street. Each time I go to the town center, I feel an emotional uplift… and have the same feeling when I am out of town and return to my beloved city. Usually, I would return in my own car, and as I went up the mountain, especially after Ein Chemed, I’d feel this swelling in my chest… of happiness, to be back home, and excitement in anticipation of seeing the city again.

the perimeter of the block – ‘the gardens of Katamon’

Taking a portrait of a person, one discovers many faces. In Hebrew, the word for face is usually used in its plural form. But it is possible to take a single portrait, and to capture that person that we or his or her acquaintances know. I have done that many times, but when coming to photograph this city, or a part of it… I always have the feeling that I have left out more than I have captured. There is so much here. Recently I got to know a blog which regularly publishes a photo with the title ‘1000 words’. I asked the blogger where the words were, and she told me that she’d heard a picture is worth a thousand words. I think that sometimes that is true. But I have often thought that words, or a painting, have a great advantage over photography. The artist is free to produce those delicate variations that don’t make it into the photo.


As some of you may remember, I moved to a new home about four years ago. It’s a very nice home, in a pleasant residential neighborhood. I have a neighborhood park right behind my home, so it serves almost as a personal garden. I’ve published some photos of it and the immediate surroundings, in a number of posts since I moved. I couldn’t ask for more. But today I want to introduce you to a small building project in the middle of the city, that is sort of hidden away, not far from the German Colony, which is one of the up beat neighborhoods these days. It is called ‘the gardens of Katamon’.


It is built on a square piece of land with three and four story houses sitting in line at the perimeter of the block. Their faces towards the center, which is a landscaped park with trees, flower bushes and grass. It’s a fine place to visit, which I do occasionally. And I’m sure it’s a great place to live. I’ve visited that project since it was built, about 20 years ago, and always thought it must be one of the best places to live in the whole city. I get a sense of completeness when walking there. I imagine that the people who live there must surely live happy lives, even though I don’t know anyone personally who lives in one of those homes.


Even so, it wouldn’t be the right place for me. We all have our personal tastes and particular demands when looking for a home. Some people like the excitement of the center of town. Others want a grocery store just a few steps from home. Lots of people like to live close to work, or close to where their friends live. There are people in our city who would only consider living in a neighborhood where most of the people have the same religious or cultural inclination as they do. Only the luckiest among us are able to find a home in the neighborhood we want, available at an affordable price, and fulfilling all of our demands including the way it looks. But most of us here are very happy to be living in this city that we love.


Most of these pictures are from an album of the place found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shimonz/albums/72157696040847104
Those of you who would like to revisit the post in which I shared the environment of my new home are welcome to find it here: https://thehumanpicture.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/in-the-vicinity/


48 responses to “home and garden

  1. I had a desire to enlarge your pictures, Shimon, so I could read them better. Thank you for the link that made it possible. In the corner of my soul, I wanted to know if I had seen Katamon when I wandered around The German Colony on one my visits; I felt a little sad not to recognise anything significant. Another time perhaps.

    From a distance, the ring of stones in the first picture, almost look like lazing sheep, sheep of a particular type with full fleeces.

    I once gave a friend a book on clouds. “They don’t have cloudy skies in Israel” I was told. Looking at your pictures, they say, “yes we do!”


    • Yes, it takes quite a while to discover all the little corners and delights of the city. Sometimes I go down a street I know well, and all of a sudden discover a gate, or a sign on a fence that tells a story all by itself. When I read what you wrote about clouds, I went outside and saw all sorts of beautiful clouds which I photographed in your honor. There’s a while in the middle of the summer when you don’t see any. But most of the time we have very interesting clouds, the light ones and dark… and even now and then with the silver lining. It isn’t one of my favorite subjects, but I can appreciate a good photo of clouds when someone else has shot it. Thanks for the comment, menhir. xxx

  2. Yes, dear Shimon, I walked with you through your beautiful posts and photographs. I was knowing your country but after meeting with you, I learn(ed) more than I know… As always I say, one day, I want to visit you in your beautiful city with my husband and we will drink a cup of tea or coffee where you like….
    Seems that city planning section is working great, the apartments are not very tall and have a garden and park… How nice. How nice. I love my city too but she turns into almost a concrete city!!!! I hate. Whenever they notice a green and nature area they start to build sky towers…. Money, money money… everything for money. I hate.

    So, it was so nice to be here and to read your post as a dream of mine… Thank you dear Shimon, have a nice day and weekend, Love, nia

    • How good it’ll be, my dear Nia, to welcome you and your husband into my home, and to be your guide to at least a part of Jerusalem. How I would enjoy it. I don’t know how long they will continue to build these relatively small homes. Here too, there is much talk about the efficiency of high rise multi storied towers. And some people have already made their homes in such structures, and are enthusiastic about them. I’ve always had a romantic longing in the opposite direction, thinking of a cabin on a farm. But I have to admit that I’m a city boy, and am most comfortable with all the advantages of the city close at hand. Thank you so much for your sweet comment.

  3. It is always nice to have a sense of belonging and reading about someone who loves where they live. Is it 4 years since you moved ! it only seems yesterday that I was reading your concerns about vacating your previous home.
    For myself, I miss the open spaces of the desert & mountains, but we now live on the edge of a small town in the East Riding of Yorkshire, with a nice big garden space and plenty of walks in lovely countryside. Beginning to make it feel like home; the sunshine we are now getting helps.
    Love the photographs of the garden areas, looks very peaceful.

    • I can well understand your missing the desert. I used to visit the desert a lot when I was young, and always found inspiration there. The last few times I visited, I was already getting old, and it was a little harder for me, but the quiet was very gentle. Your new home sounds good, David, and I do hope that the acclimation won’t be difficult. I suppose there’ll be a lot less sunshine, but you might discover other advantages. I wonder if you had a passion to photograph after you got transplanted… I think that is what saved me when I moved from the home I loved.

      • Thank you, yes I think the new home will be just fine; still a lot of things need sorting after many years away from UK, but getting there slowly.
        I will start getting out more with my cameras & using film again. Getting chemicals and a good selection of film is going to be great fun. So much to choose from after almost none in Oman for the last few years. Although it did mean I emptied the freezers and made more room for food😊

  4. What a beautiful reflection on home and how we find it and explore it, and how our love for it continues to deepen. Thank you, Shimon, for the beautiful images and words.

  5. I loved sharing the photographs and feelings about your beloved city. The roof gardens are special under the open blue sky and the benches under the trees provide solace I feel. Thank you, Shimon. xXx ❤

  6. How good that the city planners thought to put green spaces amongst homes. I think that’s so important to help people feel peaceful. It’s good to hear you are happy where you live; I remember those posts of the time you were deciding to move, and then those first days in your new place. Change is never easy. I moved ten months ago to a small apartment with a lot of green spaces around, and a waterway. I’ve found my little piece of heaven on earth too. Be well, and have a good week.

    • I hope you had an easy acclimation after the move Angeline. I found it very hard to move, even though I moved to a place nicer than my old home. It’s remembering the new order of things that is so challenging. And there are a lot of new aspects to get used to. But it is wonderful to live in a beautiful place, and having nice neighbors. I always enjoy your pictures. Thank you for your good wishes, and mine to you.

  7. This looks like such a beautiful neighbourhood, friend Shimon … so why not live there, hmmm? Love, cat,

    • I have it so good, that it wouldn’t even occur to me to move. As you probably know, my dear cat, we cats are far better at appreciating our home than we are at changing our residence. But that doesn’t mean we don’t like the occasional adventure.

  8. Thank you so much, Mr. Shimon for sharing your beautiful and peaceful neighborhood with us. So well captured. I agree, we have our own taste for a home.

    • Yes, it is hard to define taste, but it is something very integral with whom we are. I suppose part of it is personality and part is inherited… maybe personality is inherited, and one’s taste is adjusted to early positive impressions. In any case, it is very personal and subjective. Thanks for the comment, Amy

  9. Sometimes I wonder, with trepidation in my heart, which is the place that I liked most… where I would feel at ease to live and then die.
    Since I was 16, I started to travel the world… now I am almost 60 and still, I have the burning desire in my heart to see new places and learn new cultures.
    There is a “however” so strong that it always brings me back to the “roots” of my childhood!
    In the Pacific islands, I have seen enchanting places. In the savannah of Africa, I saw fascinating animals. In the cold of Alaska, I have bound the vision between ice forests and northern lights… without forgetting the big cities with their museums or dizzying skyscrapers.
    Perhaps, in truth, the reason why I call myself a citizen of the world is that I felt comfortable everywhere.
    But anyway, there is only one place that I call “home”: the small village on the hill where I was born, which I know as my trouser pockets and which I can describe in its impetuous and irreverent growing out of measure.
    Where there were meadows and wooded hills, they cut to build too many apartment houses, most of them empty. The interest of investors is to make money, to excess, get richer more and more… forgetting that one day they will have to leave everything behind them.
    And so now I have to learn to accept that I cannot change the course of things: but here are the photos and memories of the past that can be taken back, giving me the possibility to dream… for a moment … making the elapsed, more than just a mere dream of youth.
    I know I shall bring my mom to your city, soon, since she would love to see this holy city which means so much for the Christians. Be in peace and serenity :-)c

    • Oh it is wonderful, Claudine, to see new places and learn new cultures. I admire you, that you feel comfortable everywhere. I too enjoyed traveling very much when I was young, but as the years passed, I preferred to stay closer to home. Maybe you’ve discovered the key to continuous youth. But your description of home is very close to what I feel when I think of my own home. I agree with what you say about the made chase for money and possessions. Any obsession can be very destructive to the good life. Thank you for your good wishes, and mine to you.

  10. I enjoyed the photo walk through your lovely park, Shimon. It was a welcomed respite for my day. The apartment building with the recessed porches caught my eye. The building seems to sit catty-corner on the block. Is each covered porch a ‘common porch’ for more than one resident or is each porch allotted one apartment? Such an interesting design, I had to ask. I especially liked the photo of the semi-covered walkway (parked bike against a support beam) and the one of the seating area with a rock wall backdrop that was located on a small knoll. Thank you for another fine post.

    • Porches and balconies are very popular her in Jerusalem, Myra. Maybe because of the city life, we have this need to have a little piece of outdoors as part of our home. Usually such a porch belongs to just one family… and those with many children, sometimes turn it into an extra room. But I don’t think that I would ever be able to make such a sacrifice. Thanks very much for your comment.

  11. Beautiful city and beautiful photographs. Thank you.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing pieces of your beloved city. I’ve long wanted to visit, but the opportunity hasn’t yet arisen. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the journey through your eyes, or lens as the case may be. 🙂

    • So glad you enjoy these bits and pieces of Jerusalem, Judy. I am often reminded of the many sweet people who related to our city as a home, though they were far away. I wish for you the opportunity to appreciate it with your own senses. And meantime, it’s my honor to share with you.

  13. I share your inclination about having a place that you are absolutely happy to have. I don’t recall sending any pix but I know there is the video on my blog of my house. A log cabin in the mountains, with ponds and game fish and wild critters, and photo subjects almost constantly. Yes. I know that feeling.

    • Oh yes, Bob, years ago you shared with me pictures of your home (from the outside), and numerous views of the immediate surroundings. It is truly a dream house, and I’m so happy for you that you live in such a rich natural environment. I remember a pond too. We have been blessed. Thanks very much for your comment.

  14. Your words about each person having a particular reason for desiring a certain location to live really hit me hard. I recently had to move from a home in the country for no reasons of my own. A small apartment in the nearby town was the only thing available that was a reasonable rent. While I miss being in the country, I can drive there anytime. The best thing about the apartment is that there is a quietness here that I sincerely enjoy. I like peace and quiet.

    • I too, like peace and quiet Bev. I find I appreciate it even more now than I did in my younger days. Glad to hear that you still have opportunities to visit the country. Like yourself, I enjoy both of the life styles, though almost all of my life I’ve been living in the city. And it seems to me quite possible that you’ll continue to find many positive aspects and places in your new city residence.

  15. We are asked to make sacrifices throughout our life experience; a number of those sacrifices concern where we will live. Where we “land,” however, can be a lasting source of contentment. Like some of your readers, I like to travel within the US and abroad, experiencing other environments and peoples but always, always, I return to the places where I am at peace.

    • Yes, where we land has a great influence on our lives, and sometimes it’s completely out of our control. And when it’s a good place, we have reason to be grateful. From what I’ve seen in your photography, you enjoy a very beautiful environment (with some very beautiful horses too). Best wishes for continued enjoyment.

  16. Really like your posts and images. You love your community with a passion.

  17. It seems clean and peaceful.

  18. Your love for your city has always been very apparent … and I applaud your love! The neighborhood above looks very peaceful – yet, that isn’t for everyone.

    • Thank you very much Frank, and yes, you touch on something that has occupied my thoughts all through life… how chance puts us here or there among all the many different possibilities. My cat for instance, lives a very comfortable life, able to go in and out of our home at her preference, with good food whenever she wants it, and more advantages than I could list here. I too have been blessed, and know that there are many who haven’t enjoyed such a good life. It’s definitely a sobering thought.

  19. I really enjoyed seeing those extra pictures, wonderful! I loved the little wall and was wondering what type of stone was used. What a lovely park! I was shocked when you said you moved into your new house four years ago, I thought it was about two! How time flies. It is hard to get everything into a photograph, I always think that when trying to take pictures in the garden. xxxx

    • When I first saw your comment, I wondered if I could answer your question about what sort of stone was used. Most of the houses here are built with the same stones, which we call Jerusalem stones. But fortunately, my Hebrew version of Google provided me with the answer. It’s limestone. I had no idea. But that’s part of the advantage of living in the digital age. And now all I have to do is learn how to use all of these wonderful new tools. And yes, time flies Dina… and then faster. xxx

  20. Limestone! I love limestone, the houses must shine in the sunlight, they do in your photos!xxx

  21. I wish I had a park near me.I only have a car park! It’s called City Living. But was it wise to have to climb steps at your age?
    I hope you can manage ok. It is really tough moving and I am glad you have got more settled now

    • As to the steps, I didn’t choose this house; my friends did. The steps aren’t so bad. The worst is climbing the hill every time I return home. I hope I will have the strength to continue that. Thanks for the comment, Cynthia. Do I know you from somewhere?

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