Marketplaces…. as windows to lives lived by Kitty Donnelly

As 
outsiders 
or 
sojourners 
in 
the 
Holy Land,
 we
 search 
for
 glimpses 
of 
those 
who 
live
 there.

 The 
markets
 are
 a 
window 
into all 
the 
foods 
and 
other 
things 
necessary 
to 
daily 
life.

 Walking 

to 

and 
inside 
the 
Old City 
offers 
a 
vision 
of 
all 
the 
incense,
 foods, 
fruit

 mounded 
by 
juice 
stands, 
ankle 
length 
modest 
Muslim women’s 
clothing 
contrasts 
with 
skimpy 
glittery 
attire 
sold along 
the 
way
 
kitchen 
supplies,
 places 
for gathering 
or 
eating 
or 
relaxing…..all 
spread 
along 
the 
narrow 
way

.Damascus Gate

Just 
outside 
and 
inside 
the 
Damascus
 Gate, 
small 
vendors 
spread 
goods 
to 
sell 
on 
the 
pavement. 

Old 
women 
from 
the 
country 
set out 
mounds 
of 
fresh 
greens ,
vegetables
 and
fruit.

Fruit baskets

One 
young
 woman 
has 
nothing 
bu t
a
small 
mound 
of fresh 
figs 
to 
sell, 
suggesting 
her 
limited 
resources 
and 
neediness.

 Amazingly 
we 
see 
almost 
no 
beggars, except 
one 
older 
woman.

The Via
 Dolorosa 
is 
a 
path 
where 
Christians 
meditate 
on 
Jesus’
 suffering 
in 
his 
last 
days, 
but 
it 
is 
also teems 
with 
life.

 Sellers 
of 
everything 
from
 pottery
 and 

antiques 
to 
souvenirs
 that 
range 
from 
crass 
to inspiring, 
with blocks 
of 
halva 
near
 open 
bins 
of
 spices 
and 
the 
butcher’s 
meat 
hangs 
waiting 
for 
the
next 
customer.

 And 
somehow
 this 
mix 
seems 
right, 
religion 
belongs 
in 
the 
market 
of 
our 
daily 
lives, 
not set 
aside 
as 
a 
once 
a 
week 
or 
once 
a 
holiday experience 
that 
does 
not 
touch 
our 
everyday
 lives.

Old City market stalls.

Visitors 
now 
enter 
the 
Temple 
Mount 
to 
see 
the 
Dome 
of 
the 
Rock 
and
 Al 
Aqsa 
mosque 
from
 the crowded
 open 
Western 
Wall 
plaza. 

But 
they 
often 
exit 
through 
the 
domed 
historic 
cotton 
market 
hall, with 
massive 
green 
Ottoman 
doors 

opening 
on
 a 
long
 vista 
over 
the 
stalls 
and 
Middle 
Easter n
coffee stands. 

Starbucks 
does 
not 
have 
a
 foothold 
here. In 
West 
Jerusalem 
the 
afternoon 
before 
Shabbat 
begins, 
the 
Yehuda 
Mahane 
covered 
market 

corridor teems 
with 
men 
and 
women
 rushing 
to 
take 
home 
the 
foods 
and 
goods 
needed 
for their 
religious 
day
 of rest.

 Here 
the
 stalls 
display 
fruits,
 vegetables, 
eggs,
 spices,
 halvah 
too,
and 
arrays 
of 
kippe 
or
 yarmulkot in 
a 
range
 of 
colors 
and
 patterns 
that 
captivate 
the
 eye.

 The 
crush 
of 
crowd s
flows 

efficiently
 and amazingly 
our 
group
emerges 
at 
the
 other 
end 
of
 the 
long 
hall

 without 
losing 
a
 single 
person.kippas.

On 
our 
day 
trip 
to 
Hebron, 
after 
visiting 
the 
tomb 
of 
Abraham,
 we
 walk 
the 
old
 central
 market 
that wends 
its
 way 
below
 high 
buildings.

 Above 
our 
heads 
at 
times 
i s
a 
wire 
mesh 
barrier 
installed 
to 
protect those 
walking 
below 
from 
trash
 and
 objects 
thrown 
down 
from
 the 
buildings
 occupied 
by 
Jewish 
settlers
who 
have 
been 
given 
residence 
in 
the 
heart 
of 
the 
old 
city.

 On 
our 
visit 
we 
do 
not 
see 
anything 
being thrown 
down,
 but
 learn 
from 
members of the 
Christian Peacemaker
 Team (who 
bear 
witness 
here) 
that 
refuse 
and even 
liquid 
bleach 
have
 been
 poured 
on 
those 
in 
the 
market 
below. 

The 
market 
sellers 
are 
very 
eager 
to sell,
 but 
the 
crowds
 are
 thin.

 The 
tense 
situation 
in
 Hebron 
between 
settlers 
and 
the
 Palestinian residents 
of 
this 
large 
city 
hovers 
over 
the 
market.

 We 
see 
a
 donut
 maker 
squirt 
dough 
between 
his fingers 
into 
boiling 
oil, 
an
 old 
cobbler 
at 
work, 
pita 
emerging 
from
 a
 baking 
machine. 

All 
the 
while 
as 
we take 
photographs, 
we 
are 
an 
object
of 
interes
t to
 the 
local 
residents.
 
A
 group
 of 
young 
teenaged 
school girls 
encounter 
us 
and 
one 
girl 
takes 
out 
her 
camera 
to 
photograph 
me,

 reversing 
roles 
to 
focus 
on 
us as 
exotic
 visitors.

Later
 in 
Hebron 
we 
walk 
along 
padlocked shops 
in 
a 
zone where
 Palestinians 
have 
been 
evicted.
 The Peacemakers 
tell 
us 
that 
the 
Israel i
government 
has 
determined 
that 
the 
street 
closure 
was 
a 
mistake, but 
now 
the 
Israeli 
military 
commander 
wants 
to 
keep 
the 
street
 closed 
and 
so 
it 
remains. 


A 
lasting
memory 
is 
the 
poignant
 mark 
of 
white
 prints 
of 
open 
hands 
left 
to 
protect 
a 
closed 
shop 
in 
a 
sign 
of hope 
amid 
the 
desolation 
of
 the 
deserted
 streets.

Fatima Hand on locked doors

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