Guy Olami - Photographer
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Itzhak Simon



Jerusalem

That night I slept restlessly. Still shrouded in a sense of mystery that I was unable to shake off I felt trapped inside a bubble.

I am not a religious person and in my childhood was raised as totally secular. Yet my visit to the Old City of Jerusalem earlier that day had aroused in me a special attraction, a pull I was unable to deny the narrow alleyway, the entrance, the eerie silence, a sense of peace. I had been there dozens of times before, and yet suddenly on that occasion I was overwhelmed by this powerful sensation.

It was almost midnight when I decided to return, if only to relive that feeling that had remained with me throughout the day and allowed me no rest. It was only an hour's drive. Passing Sha'ar Haguy I soon reached the outskirts of the city. It was quiet and the streets were deserted.

Only another moment and I would be there. The pictures in my head continued to roll on ceaselessly, my brain afire with sights that I was already imagining. And then, with a feeling of déjà vu , imagination turned into reality

Mount Zion, a small alley leading off it, Dormition Abbey standing proudly opposite. Only another few steps. Aiming my camera at both sky and earth, my wide angle lens captured the sight through the grey fog.

And suddenly there they were, face to face, the young men with their heads covered in fur-trimmed shtreimels. I held on to my camera, waiting, seeking first to understand them. What is the special impact that this unique city has on everyone As night began to give way to day, as the bright moonlight began to pale and heavy clouds loomed in the sky, I saw the men leaning against the church walls.

The camera shutter clicked and I knew that I had captured the moment on film. Here was the irresistible attraction of that night.

The unique atmosphere of the Holy City has pulled me back again and again, camera always in hand. The pictures have accumulated. Busy, crowded streets, stone facades and roofs, religious and secular, Jews, Christians and Muslims, old and new cities, a pot pourri of smells, sights and senses, infinite colors - all of which I now pass on to the observer's imagination.

They all blend together to make up

My Jerusalem

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