2017 Queer Women’s Israel MissionA Wider BlogNEWS

2017 Queer Women’s Mission: Jerusalem

On the 3rd and 4th day of our trip, we continued to tour Jerusalem: visiting the national holocaust museum (Yad v’Shem), meeting some of Jerusalem’s LGBTQ leaders at the Alliance Guesthouse, viewing the Israel museum and spending time in the colorful Machne Yehuda market.

Outside the Book of the Shrine

View from the Mount of Olives

We met with Jerusalem’s LGBTQ community for drinks and refreshments at the Alliance Guesthouse, a new collective for young artists redefining Jerusalem through visual and fine arts.

Panel at the Alliance Guesthouse

Casey Girard spoke about her work with the Ruach Hadasha Artist movement in Jerusalem. Tyler Gregory, Deputy Director of A Wider Bridge, opened the panel.  On the panel, we heard from Daniel Jonas (Havruta),  Irene Rabinowitz (JOH), and Sarah Weil (Yerushalmit).

We visited the Machne Yehuda market and took in all the sights and sounds of this bustling place. The market (shuk) was the shopping destination for Mizrachi Jews from Kurdistan, Yemen, Morocco, etc. who lived in the surrounding Nachlaot neighborhood. The population of Nachlaot has changed, but the market is still here as a cultural center, including an unforgettable Thursday nightlife scene.

Can’t forget all the amazing spices on display in the Shuk!

Enjoying Jerusalem’s culinary delights!  

We ended this leg of the trip with a very moving visit to Yad v’Shem, Israel’s national holocaust memorial. Our guide Alice Marcu spoke about the LGBT experience during this period of history.

“Guiding groups through Yad Vashem is a challenging task, but to be able to meet incredible women like the ones I’ve guided today, to get to share these stories, the stories of our community with them, to be fortunate enough to experience their kind and heartwarming reactions, these are the moments that keep me going,” Alice remarked when asked about her experience with the group.

It was especially sobering to visit Yad v’Shem today, in the light of rising anti-semitism across the world and the news of far-right nationalists marching on Poland’s Independence Day.

Trip participant Guila Cukier-Rice summed it up quite eloquently in a Facebook post:

It’s a bit odd to be here walking the streets of Jerusalem on what is the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht. I know that I’m seeing everything through rose coloured glasses but I’m still in awe of the faces and sounds of the streets & people.

What is it about us, one of the smallest nations in this world, that for centuries others have tried to totally eliminate?

Yet despite all of this we survive. And you know what? We always will. – Guila Cukier-Rice, trip participant