Jerusalem Awaking


By Ruth Fogelman

50 pages "gift format" with full-page photographs
Printed in 2010
These poems and pictures present Jerusalem from a Jewish viewpoint…. The touch is delicate and wide ranging…. Throughout the poems there is an awareness of what cannot be reproduced by poems or pictures, the sounds of music, secular and religious, ancient and modern, foreign and Jewish, which combine to fill even the empty streets of Jerusalem with echoes. Against this music… the daily life of the city and its Jewish Quarter takes its eternal place.
In such a context, in such a vision of Jerusalem, even the screech of a swift can sound for a moment like an angel's song…. And who can say it isn't?
Richard Sherwin
Associate Proffessor of Poetry, Bar-Ilan University

Through her poems and photographs Ruth Fogelman shares with the reader the privilege of living in the Old City of Jerusalem, on a ground that is both sacred and welcoming. Reading it is often like walking, or dancing, to the Western Wall in the company of a gracious friend.
Esther Cameron
Editor, The Deronda Review

In Jerusalem Awaking, Ruth Fogelman walks on sacred ground where "stones whisper… from eras long past…." Jerusalem, "where lion and lamb leap together," is the center of her experiences, beginning at daybreak as "crowds stream through [the] streets" and ending under "a pale embryo-moon." Fogelman celebrates her days through poems vivifying nature and people of centuries living in the ancient city. In her own time she looks for the "spirit that answers" in a touch of stone-arch, taste of fig and pomegranate, sound of pipe and harp of rooftops. She finds continuity despite "attacks on… buses and cafes…" never forgets to send a healing prayer to "those who survive[d]" through history. Fogelman longs for harmonious relationship between the walls… calls upon the "defenders of the City" to bring a "joy [to] men's eyes" and "sing [to] the Lord a new song…" a song of unity, of One.
Michal Mahgerefteh
, Poetica - Reflections of Jewish Thought


Dawn at the Western Wall

Dawn breaks over the Western Wall.
On the ledges, pigeons that slept as motionless as the ancient stones
now stretch their wings.
Sparrows land from nearby trees
and hop at my feet.
A flock of swifts flies west
towards the pale moon still high after night’s retreat.

Above my head
glide a pair of white, luminescent wings ­
an angel’s ­ a dove’s?
At the Western Wall,
when night and light embrace
more than birds meander through the sky.

I, Jerusalem

I hear music on my streets every weekday
and on nights when my children rejoice.
I hear the wailing of a grandmother
whose world has crumbled away.

I smell fresh mint in Mahane Yehuda;
and cinnamon in the Old City market.
I smell acrid remains of bodies from attacks
in a yeshiva, in a mall, in buses and cafés.

I see prophecy fulfilled as my children return
and crowds stream through my streets before dawn.
I see my children butchered and maimed,
and speeding ambulances after each terror attack.

I taste honeyed baklava and pomegranates,
olives, figs and dates.
I taste the guilt of those who survive
and also the flavor of their prayers.

I touch those who hunger for inspiration,
and all who seek eternity within my gates.