Mount of Olives

Is it possible to fall in love with a place one knows not, to become mesmerized by photographs, tantalized by names to the point where the soul aches? When I was 15 I fell in love with Jerusalem. There is no other word for it. Love. It was an intoxicating anodyne to the grayness of my Luxembourg home from whence I stared from my window onto pebble-dashed houses and the wooded hills of fir and pine. As my parents roared in mutually destructive anger in the rooms below and as I withered in my lonely room, I poured over my picture books of Jerusalem, touching the views with my finger, wishing, praying, pleading that I might go, and that once there I could walk freely and alone in the shade of olive trees and Jerusalem pine. I dreamt of golden domes and dark, cavernous markets, filled with the scents and sounds of the orient, of skies of never-ending blue and dusty paths through the haunted tombs of Absalom and Zecharias. I hugged my kitten, promising I would take her with me, tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I planned walks, drew maps, collected pictures. I read poems from centuries earlier, songs and prayers interwoven with devotion and longing, dreams of being carried over seas and rivers on the wings of a mighty eagle. Many years later, a man now, no longer a boy I arrived for my first visit, and Jerusalem became part of me, fully and forever.

This work represents the views I studied in boyhood, and I decided to paint it. It is available via


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