Sarah Tuttle-Singer
A Mermaid in Jerusalem

That place of light

I got lost in the Old City last night – it happens sometime, when you turn a different corner in fading light.

A cat slunk by my leg and hissed. The sounds of the shuk had drifted too far away to hear. The light had had deepened to greyscale.

And #thatawkwardmoment when you realize that your phone has no reception, the battery is THISCLOSE to dying, and no one knows where you are, least of all you.

And as hard as I wanted to be whole with the City of Peace, its easy to remember that this place dances with the angels on the head of a pin: One false move, and the peace can slip and shatter.

And I was scared.

I turned another  corner and ended up in front of a small church tucked into an alley.

“Shalom. Salaam,” the priest said, and we spoke in the gloaming.

I followed him into his church.

The air inside was softened with Frankincense.

A chandelier hung from the ceiling, a crystal sun illuminating the faces of the angels and the saints that gazed down from the walls.

priest 2

And there in the middle of the room, surrounded on all sides by gilded faces, he showed me an illuminated manuscript, written by the faithful hands of an Ethiopian scribe sometime deep in years of the 17th century….

“This is Gods land,” he told me. “It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew. It doesn’t matter if you think the Messiah came or if you are still waiting. All that matters is that you believe and have faith in God.”

And even though my phone was dead, even though the darkness had deepened into night, even though I still had no freaking clue where I was, I was no longer afraid.

The priest and I walked outside the church, and he showed me the way back home.

And this I now know to be true:   Sometimes, a wrong turn through long shadows can lead you to a place of light

priest 1


About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel. She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems, and she now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors, talks to strangers, and writes stories about people — especially taxi drivers. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.