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An introvert’s energy.

I was thrilled to get home this afternoon to find the Jerusalem cookbook arrived. Sarah sent it as a thank-you gift for setting up her (not-yet done! oh, Sarah, you are the patientest) blog. I’ve been reading through the opening pages — besides the typical introduction, there are short, couple-of-page long essays/notes on Jerusalem culture, history, and so forth.

“The energy of Jerusalem is introspective,” Ottolenghi and Tamimi (the former from a Muslim and the latter a Jewish background) write. “It is born out of an interplay between the peoples that have been coming and going for millenia, and the spirit that seems to hover among the olive trees, over the hills, and in the valleys. It is not through anything material but through faith, learning, devotion, and, sadly, fanaticism that Jerusalem gained its importance.” Though at Penn we say that everyone goes to Israel and that’s so old, it’s true, I want to; I want to see it and be there. Thinking lately and reading these pages and lines now, I’ve thought, maybe I know why I’m interested in and captivated by Jerusalem.

I’m on the cynical side when it comes to Europe and European cities — yes, I want to go and see and be there, but I love U.S. cities and how multicultural they are. I wonder if maybe I’m interested in and drawn to Jerusalem because it has a similar clash and jumble of people and thinking and places and foods and cultures and things. Maybe it’s that jumble, that mixing-bowl, that salad-bowl, that I like; maybe Jerusalem would be somewhere I really like and love. I’m excited to see. I’m looking forward to it.

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