Monday, December 25, 2006

Mea Shearim - Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem

The sign warning against immodest passers-by


Chanukkah Lights by the window

We went to Mea Shearim on the seventh night of the Chanukkah Festival.
Notice just one more light to be lit
A section of a Mea Shearim neighborhood

Ariella, our Israeli friend, was able to entice us into going to the Jewish quarter at Jerusalem before the Shabbat ends for us to see the Chanukkah lights that can be found lit on windows of houses there. And so last Thursday, off we went to the Mea Shearim quarter of Jerusalem, where the strictly Jewish people can be found.

The main street was long and narrow, and either we went along or came across men wearing the standard Jewish outfit, the black coat and hat. One wears exactly that the others, except us – and we did felt like outsiders in Mea Shearim.

There are alleys coming from the street and leading to neighborhoods where the strictly orthodox Jews reside. The surroundings were a bit shabby, and it looked like buildings and houses are cramped to every inch of the available space. On one building wall, there was a sign warning visitors wearing immodest clothes not to pass by.

As I take pictures, albeit surreptitiously, of the area, still a Jewish girl came upon us and gestured in an obviously negative manner while pointing to our camera. Obviously she wanted to tell us taking pictures is prohibited. Then she went on to another group who even has a movie camera and perhaps told them the same, for they immediately left the place afterwards. At least I was able to take some pictures, especially of Chanukkah lights.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was in Mea Shearim over a year ago and had a really bad experience. I came as part of a tour group, so I guess we were relatively obvious, but there were tons of people there, so it's not like it was the middle of the night or some particularly special day. In any case, within minutes we started getting accosted by little Hasidic children yelling at us to leave. From there it started to escalate as more kids joined up to the group and proceeded to follow us and yell at us wherever we went. Eventually there were young men part of the group to. Our tour guide was telling them to calm down and leave us alone but they just kept following and yelling. Then we saw some people trying to throw water at us from the balconies. That's when we figured we should probably start going back. By the time we were on our way out, walking up the main road towards our bus, we were being followed by a group of about 40 kids and men who were making sure we left. They started getting into some intense verbal arguments with people in our group and with some people along the street who thought they were being crazy. In any case, just goes to show you what insularism can do to people.

Rainbow River said...

Uh, expect even worse treatment in NYC if you lack etiquette and come across as a naive, corny tourist, believe you me!