Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

New review: The Storyteller of Jerusalem

Electronic Intifada, 25th February 2014

The descriptions of his childhood center around a large house shared with tenants, situated around a courtyard and with communal facilities.
“If you entered the house on a Sunday,” writes Jawhariyyeh, “you would find families and relatives of both sexes with their children, some playing cards or backgammon, others singing or playing music with their friends, some smoking argileh [water pipe], or telling stories and anecdotes… . Our Muslim neighbors, both men and women, used to join us at times of sorrow or joy alike. On the… first night of Lent, we would all dress up — men and women.”
This is a rare glimpse into “middle-class” life in Jerusalem at the end of the Ottoman period, where the important things are food, family and getting an education, not palatial homes and political goings-on.

The full article is here.

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