by: Nachman I. Klieman
Sunset in Jerusalem is an experience that is both spiritually uplifting and charged with emotion. The gold crown that the city wears during the twilight hour mixed with hues of violet is a sight that will never leave you no matter your race or religious background. The experience generally makes one feel as if he/she has become a part of the magnificence that is known as Jerusalem.
The Jewish Talmud states that the origin of the name ‘Jerusalem’ dates back to the time of Abraham when in the book of Genesis he referred to the site ‘as the mountain where the Lord will be seen’ “yay-raw-eh”. The local King of the area, Malhitzedek, already called his city ‘’Shalem’’ or “Peace”. The combination of the two words yielded Jerusalem- the city of peace.
For thousands of years since, the inhabitants of Jerusalem as well as its visitors have been exposed to its special and considerable level of spirit. Many songs and poems have been written about this special ‘City of Gold’ and artists the world over have portrayed its majesty while incorporating its multi faceted imagery and features into their paintings and artwork .
What is it about Jerusalem that makes it so special? What attracts millions of tourists and pilgrims from Israel and countries the world over to experience the spirit and enjoyment of walking its streets while savoring the spirit of the moment?
Jerusalem offers an unusual blend of modernity and historical antiquity. There exists a wide range of attractions, religious and heritage sites, museums, creative art fairs, and cultural centers. Other popular attractions include archaeological sites and digs which may be viewed, colorful parks, a biblical zoo, Botanical gardens, as well as the Centers of the Israeli Government.
The casual side of the city includes the open air ‘Mahane Yehuda market’, the Ben Yehuda street mall, and the old city markets. Visitors may view handmade arts and crafts gifts at any of the open air stands or shops. Many examples of silver jewelry are influenced by the works of artisans whose craft and skills have been handed down from generation to generation.
Art and culture are important elements in the structure of Jerusalem. The city is host to Israel’s most famous and progressive schools of art and sciences. The renowned Israel Museum offers exhibitions of History, Archaeology as well as works of art and sculpture by Israeli and International artists. Many exciting sculptures may be viewed within the city as they stand on display on its streets and promenades.
Some of Israel’s most talented artists, artisans and designers make their home in Jerusalem. They do not have to travel far for their inspiration. There is a continuous contrast of ancient walls and historical archaeological sites played against a growing skyline featuring buildings of modern design. They too have come to learn how much their beloved city has become a part of them.