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Commuting to Work

One of the amazing things about living and working in Jerusalem is the amount of history you walk past everyday. As commutes go, my commute (from the kfar to the Givati Parking lot) was fairly fast and easy. My commute, taking the light rail to Damascus gate and then walking through the Muslim quarter to Dung gate and the dig, took on average only 30 minutes. In retrospect, this is most likely the easiest commute I will ever have, and certainly the most interesting.
My commute took me to Damascus Gate, through the Arab market and quarter which use to be apart of the spice trade or silk road, along part of the Via Dolorosa and some of the stops on the Via Dolorosa, across the plaza in front of the Kotel and the Haram al-Sharff (Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock), through Dung Gate and across the street to Givati. The amount of history I passed in 30 minutes was astouding. However, some mornings I stopped and noticed it taking my time through the commute, and other mornings (especially if I was rushing so I wouldn’t be late) I didn’t notice any of the history I was passing. I also didn’t stop to recognize any of what I was passing on my way back to the kfar after work, by that time I was tired, covered in dirt, and trying to walk through crowds of tourists and people shopping in the market.
How easily I was able to swtich between appreciating where I was and what I was seeing and blowing right past it made me wonder whether Jerusalemites ever stop to appreciate where they live and the history that surrounds them. Or, because they have always lived there, their surroundings are mundane or at least nothing new and my fasciantion came from the fact that I was a tourist. The town I grew up in in New Jersey has a fair amount of historical places that come out of the Revolutionary war. In elemetary school we would always take field trips to these places and I was never particularly interested in them. To this day I have no interest in visiting these places, but I’m sure that there are people who would be extremely fascinated by them. To me though, they are just apart of where I live and thats about it. They don’t affect my everyday life in any way. While it is plausible that this is the way some Jerusalemites may feel about the city I still have trouble believing that there could be anyway who is unaware or uninterested by the fact that live in such a historical rich city as Jerusalem.


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