Posted on 09 October 2017.
My Jerusalem Book by Barbara Shaw, Design and Illustration by Shlomi Gorodetsky, Barbara Shaw Gifts Publishers, Jerusalem, Israel, © 2017, ISBN 978-965-572-210-9, p. 128, $24.90
By Fred Reiss, Ed.D.
WINCHESTER, California – Jerusalem is unlike any other city in Israel. It lacks the cotillion atmosphere of Tel Aviv, or the innovative climate of some of the coastal-plain cities, such as Herzliya, Netanya, and Petah Tikva, or even the viticulture found in the Galilee. Jerusalem is neither glamorous, like Athens or Rome in their heyday, nor cosmopolitan in nature, which once underscored life in Paris and Vienna.
In a similar vein, My Jerusalem Book, by long-time Jerusalem resident Barbara Shaw, is unlike other travel guides displaying flashy advertisements, or wordy and flowery descriptions that might or might not convey important information. My Jerusalem Book is more like a bucket list, checklist, activity book, journal, and guide to proper decorum all rolled into one. In addition, the book is heavily illustrated with beautiful and useful pen and ink drawings.
Instead of long columns of rated restaurants, for example, under the heading “We Love [actually, there is the symbol of a heart] Israeli Food,” she provides the names and addresses of just ten restaurants serving “the most authentic falafel,” and on another page, there is a convenient list of shops in which to purchase some of the cities culinary treasures, including ma’amoul, knafeh, and roasted Arabic coffee.
There is a checklist of must-see Jerusalem’s museums “covering the past, present, and future of the city and its people,” two pages of pen-and-ink drawings of ancient windows and doors to look for on your excursions, and a page of functional expressions with both Hebrew and Arabic transliterations. Some pages are even reserved to make journal entries and record gifts for friends and relatives.
My Jerusalem Book is a unique experience in its own right, akin to having sent an emissary in advance to find the best that Jerusalem has to offer, and this is the result of her adventures.
Dr. Fred Reiss is a retired public and Hebrew school teacher and administrator. His newest works are The Comprehensive Jewish and Civil Calendars: 2001 to 2240, and The Jewish Calendar: History and Inner Workings. The author may be contacted via [email protected].