Jeanette Amid

The Ugliest Building in Jerusalem

What a way for me to remember the most wonderful, beautiful iconic building in Jerusalem. Now, I readily admit it looks tired, neglected and in desperate need of an overhaul…..but….

In 1961, newly married, we moved into an apartment on the 4th floor, we were only the second family to move in. The view of Jerusalem was amazing. On a clear day you could see the Dead Sea and the mountains beyond, the unapproachable Mount Scopus, with that enticing Hotel. The Old City…so near, yet so far. I knew what direction the Western Wall was, but could not see it! But I did see the beautiful Dome of the Rock. It was all incredible and breathtaking.

I remember sitting on that long balcony watching the sunrise over Jerusalem and then at sunset everything turned that gorgeous pink!

How lucky we were. Newly married, living in the most amazing apartment in Jerusalem with that view! I spent hours appreciating my good fortune.

I remember, later sitting on that balcony, feeding my infant child, talking to him about Israeli politics and what was going on…. And he, all of three months, looking at me with those big brown eyes! Not understanding a word, yet understanding everything.

I remember our neighbors, lovely people, so friendly and kind, and helpful to me, the “new immigrant” with my struggling Hebrew, and they were all talking to me fluently in English, they loved to practice their English!

I remember the Supermarket below, where the frozen department sold only frozen peas! My first experience of a terror attack in Jerusalem was a bomb exploding inside the store. I watched from my balcony as they carried out the injured, and for some reason I was not afraid. I should have been, but I was not.

I remember after the 6-day war, finding a bullet hole on the facing of the balcony.  We were obviously in the line of fire!

I remember my daughter getting dressed in school uniform for the first day of grade 1, with her blue blouse, and little satchel! She looked so pretty!

I remember the erratic elevator, which sometimes broke down! But nothing could take away the wonder of that building, that view, and all my hopes for the future.

Now, they are pulling it down to make way for a newer and more beautiful building, but the memories of “Jerusalem that was” will never leave me and the building that was the beginning of it all for me.

About the Author
Made aliya in 1960, worked in the English department of Kol Israel, dealt in tourism for 30 years, brought up a family. Generally a "normal" life here in this challenging country.
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