Yellow Brick Road

My first trip inside the old city of Jerusalem was a lot like Dorothy’s down the yellow-brick road to Oz. Surrounded by a high and well-restored stonewall, the ancient city houses a number of different neighborhoods which seem to all agree on boundaries and accept the differences of cultures. Jewish sections border Christian, Armenian, and Arab areas.
After passing through a metal/bomb detecting security gate near the center of the city, you’re allowed to enter an open courtyard, which lies in front of the Wailing Wall. For those not accustomed to places of extreme religious belief, this area may take be surreal.
Hasidic Jews in their black robes, back hats, and long curly side-burns bob their heads up and down while chanting something in Hebrew, Yiddish, or possibly Russian. Russian is one of the three languages on most street signs, ATM commands and government notices throughout Israel. Russian Jews are one of the largest immigrant groups in Israel. Some claim that Israel, in its attempt to compensate for the large birthrate of Arabs, encouraged Russians to immigrate to Israel. Just like everything in Israel, this depends on whom you ask.
This image was taken about 30 meters from the wall. The group was performing a ritual that requires the lighting of a candle, the drinking of alcohol and the waving of some plant. My description is vague but it was hard for me to get any information on the scene. Folks were quiet and surprisingly spoke very little English. I’ll have to look into this a bit more to find out what is going on, but it seemed like something voluntary and popular.

Posted December 29th, 2005 in Uncategorized.


  1. Anonymous:

    Is this working.

  2. Lau:

    I have heard a similar thing about Ethiopian jews. Most of them, claimed to be descendents of King Salomon, were brougt to Israel to fill up this country. And ofcourse they were promised a better life.

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