Jerusalem, 12 August 2016, by Sanja Šćepanović - Being in Israel is not complete without a visit to Jerusalem. Depending on whether one considers themselves religious or not, this visit might look different, but in every case is an extraordinary experience. This is a result of discussions with several colleagues and participants who also visited there.
Lunch at an Authentic Hummus place in West Jerusalem (thanks to our local guides)
Three of us went for a longer (in SSP terms) trip of 3 days during last weekend. In accordance with Israeli hospitality, a local SSP alumni met us on the first evening and took to an authentic hummus place. We have, of course, tried the food she recommended and it was a perfect mix of different types of hummus, that are also served warm. And the first joke came from the Israeli friend, who commented that ‘Jewish, Christian and Muslim are sitting for an authentic hummus in Jerusalem, and it sounds like a start for some jokes’. I have at the same time thought how this type of a joke reveals the differences of this place compared to Europe where I have spent most of my life.
View from Gethsemane Garden to the Old City wall of Jerusalem
Rooftops view in Old City Jerusalem
Russian Church of Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives, East Jerusalem
In Jerusalem, one can see some of the holiest places for the three Abrahamic religions. We walked the streets, and my friend, looking to buy something, asked to one of the street sellers: ‘Is this the Muslim quarter?’ He had not shown any discontent with her question: ‘This is, but they are all the same, we are all the same people here.’ This was an interesting answer considering that it is one of the first things the tourist guide told us during the tour how Jerusalem consists of 4 quarters: Muslim, Jewish, Armenian and Christian. What was really nice is that the people there seem and feel to coexist in a beautiful harmony. At least this is an external impression one gains by being there.
Damascus Gate to the Old City Jerusalem