Walking through the Old City

The air is perfectly sweet and cool. Quiet. Clear.

The stone streets polished to a sheen, smooth under our feet. We sat on the rooftop and looked out over the varying heights of this holy city. Dome of the Rock. Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Other churches, higher and higher, ego against ego, what happened to humility?

Men in floor-length black robes. Women in floor-length gray robes. Women in floor-length skirts. Men in black satin jackets, white knee socks, fur hats. Shoulders shown, shoulders covered. Shorts and jeans, sneakers and flats.

Wigs. Short-shorn hair. Headscarves. Hats. Wild curls long and free.

Knitted yarmulkes. Black velvet yarmulkes. Bare heads.

In the Armenian quarter, a woman sits on a doorstep, texting. The Armenians were the first to accept Christianity. The Protestants believe Jesus went right on his 14 stations of the cross, while the Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe he went left.

Religious Jews dance with Torahs at the point where the Christians diverge, in the heart of the Muslim Quarter. Also the point where Jesus met his mother on his tragic walk.

Did the dancing Jews realize the significance of the spot where they danced and sang? Women watched as the circle of men went round and round. Should they be there anyway?

In some ways, Jerusalem is a city of contradictions. In some ways, a place of peace and harmony.

Many respect each other to the point that our guide, Ynon, took us to a jeweler in the Muslim Quarter. Beautiful gold and Roman glass and Eilat stone. Beautiful friendship.

At least money brings us all together, Ynon says, pointing to the displays in all the quarters of ritual items for Jews, Christians, Muslims. Money unites. Or does it?

A day of walking up and down and around winding streets. Inclines and descents, into the depths of the ruins, visiting yesterday and long ago, excavated so we can better understand.

A perfect day in this wonderful city.

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