Wednesday, March 9, 2011

City Of Peace

You are not likely to hear a more intelligent or touching appreciation of the imagined Jerusalem than this interview with my friend James Carroll, discussing his new book, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, with NPR's "On Point." This city is not only the place where religious violence has been concentrated over three millennia, but also the place where religious imagination has sought to transcend violence. What a powerful statement to the world, and about our capacity to psyche-out our psyches, Jim implies, if Israelis and Palestinians could finally make peace.

BUT PEACE CANNOT come from high-minded dread alone. It is something to be built, rule by rule, oath by oath, fence by fence. So I also want to commend this website to you, developed by a young and visionary architectural firm named Saya, founded by Karen Lee Bar-Sinai and Yehuda Greenfield-Gilat.

Karen got in touch with me just after I published my Times article about the Abbas-Olmert negotiations. I mentioned in the piece that Olmert showed me, en passant, an architectural plan for a symbolic crossing from West Jerusalem to East Jerusalem at the American Colony Hotel; how vivid peace looked when you could actually see the constructions that would provide it a foundation. Karen immediately wrote me and identified herself as the co-designer of this plan. Click yourself around their site and dream dreams of transcendence.