Asylum City: Jerusalem through the Eyes of Refugees

When I decided to move to Israel three years ago, it was pretty clear to me that I would move to Jerusalem. I loved the city’s mingling of old and new, but most of all, I loved its diversity. I wanted to live in a place with different people, cultures, and communities. That’s why I’m excited for “A Different Day in Jerusalem”, an initiative to turn Jerusalem Day into a day to celebrate the city’s diversity, to create encounters between different communities, and to educate residents and visitors alike about the different facets of life in Jerusalem.

I’m especially excited for “Asylum City: Jerusalem Through the Eyes of Refugees“, a free walking tour around the center of the city that will provide an opportunity to meet with asylum seekers and learn about their experiences of Jerusalem, while seeing some of the city’s landmarks. At the end of the tour, there will be an opportunity to get to know the members of Jerusalem’s asylum seeker community over beer and injara.

The tour is being sponsored by the Jerusalem African Community Center, which provides a wide array of services for asylum seekers, from English and Hebrew lessons, to mentoring, and baby-sitting for young families. Most important of all, it serves as a place for communal gathering, and a safe zone where asylum seekers can gather and speak about their experiences.

The tour is a great way to celebrate Jerusalem Day, by discovering more about the city’s history, geography, and different communities, without spending any money. Sounds good to me.

About the Author
Shayna Abramson, a part-Brazilian native Manhattanite, studied History and Jewish Studies at Johns Hopkins University before moving to Jerusalem. She has also spent some time studying Torah at the Drisha Institute in Manhattan, and has a passion for soccer and poetry. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Political Science from Hebrew University, and is a rabbinic fellow at Beit Midrash Har'el.
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