‘Many Layers of Jerusalem’ Highlights the Nonfamiliar

Prayer at the Western Wall. Photos by Udi Goren

By Eleanor Linafelt

Israeli educator, artist and travel photographer Udi Goren will speak virtually about the “The Many Layers of Jerusalem” on May 23 at 1 p.m., sharing photographs that he has taken over the past 15 years of the people and places of Jerusalem.

Through his photos, anecdotes and stories, Goren hopes to give attendees a nonfamiliar perspective of Jerusalem.

A religious man in the marketplace

“Everyone knows about the wall and the holy sites and most people know a lot of the history,” he said. “I want to give bring something that they haven’t seen before.”
Some of the many layers of Jerusalem that Goren will discuss include the spiritual and earthly, the religious and secular, the diversity of religions and current and historical events.

“There is so much to a city like Jerusalem that there is always something new to show,” he said.

Goren said that his primary goal for the event is that people enjoy it. He describes his talks as “story-like rather than lecture-like.”

In addition, in light of the current Israeli-Palestinian crisis, Goren will provide some brief historical background on the conflict to educate people on the situation in Jerusalem.

Two nuns pass a street vendor after walking through the Damascus Gate.

“Jerusalem is the epicenter of everything happening right now in Israel,” he said, though he recognized that he won’t be able to address all of the intricacies of the conflict. “It’s impossible to explain the whole issue in an hour when I’m also trying to give people a good time and tell other stories because it’s a huge issue.”

However, he ultimately hopes to provide attendees with a better understanding of Jerusalem and ideas for how to thoughtfully read and interpret news about the city.
“It’s very important for me that people begin to understand how complex the situation is in Jerusalem,” Goren said.

The event, which will be held on Zoom, is hosted by the Adult Education and Israel Affairs Committee of Temple Adath Israel and supported by an Israel Engagement Grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Arab children in East Jerusalem on top of the Austrian hostel play games with the Dome of the Rock in the background.

Goren encourages those who attend the event to come with curiosity and questions to ask during the Q&A time after he speaks. You can register for the event at tinyurl.com/UdiGorenAI2021. l

Eleanor Linafelt is a freelance writer.


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