August 17, 2019

The Hypertext of Jerusalem

“Hypertext: On the computer screen it’s a highlighted or underlined word, phrase or chunk of text that takes you beyond the linear – giving you instant access to definitions, enriching background and more. It takes you from layer to layer of new information.

Practically everything in Jerusalem could be written with hypertext. There’s barely a rock or street in this amazing city where I live without a back story. It you could walk around virtual-reality style with a cursor and click as you go, strata of stories would open. Here are just a few examples:

Take the Ottoman period house three houses away from our apartment or the Hotel Semiramis up the street, bombed in the War of Independence. And two houses further on, the pretty synagogue built by the Jews of Amadiya, a city 1,400 meters above sea level along a tributary of the Great Zab in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Shtiblach Synagogue next to that where minyanim are always gathering in prayer. It moved from the Old City when the Jewish Quarter was lost in 1948. And this isn’t a tourist area – just a middle-class, residential neighborhood called Old Katamon (also Gonen).”

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