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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.