Sharing With Sharon – The Jerusalem Syndrome

Posted on: December 30th, 2017 by tgregory


Community Shlicha

Sharon Ben Ami

Usually referred to as: A group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem. It is not endemic to one single religion or denomination but has affected Jews, Christians, and Muslims of many different backgrounds. (Wikipedia)

But actually, the Jerusalem Syndrome is:

Being at a loss of words while trying to describe Jerusalem for all that it is. Home? Past? Future? Seventy names and more just don’t do it justice.  

The Jerusalem Syndrome is feeling a sense of terror every time you are in a bus and hearing someone behind you speaking Arabic, turning around and seeing it’s that guy you used to work with at that restaurant, breathing again and thinking what a fool you are.

 It’s paying money for a glass of “Clear mountain air like wine” (ןייכ לולצ םירה ריווא) from the girl scouts at the town fair.

The Jerusalem Syndrome is when you smell blood every time you go by that street where years ago you saw that bus … and then it was not.

It’s walking down your street that ends with an excavation site where King David’s old house was unearthed, thinking huh- how weird. He walked the same ground as me. 

It’s having the security guard check your bag before you enter anywhere while he’s greeting you with ‘ahalan’ (Arabic for hello).

The Jerusalem Syndrome is happiness mixed with tears, bravery that rose from fear. 

The Jerusalem Syndrome is having fresh hummus with a cold Goldstar beer. 

The Jerusalem Syndrome is standing your ground, and then thinking – whose ground is it, reflecting on it for a second or so. 

It’s protesting outside the Prime Minister’s residence and getting stopped by an officer, then realizing it’s your cousin, and then giving him a warm hug. 

That’s the Jerusalem Syndrome – love and hate intertwined. How can I explain all of it? I don’t exactly know, but for all that it is, Jerusalem is I, Jerusalem is mine, for me that is all. •