Haaretz Photo Blog |

Jerusalem of Magic: The Hypnotic Holy City Takes Hold

Guy Cohen set out to photograph the religious communities of Jerusalem and found a spiritual wave even outside of the formal frameworks, in places that were not religious at all.

Daniel Tchetchik
Daniel Tchetchik
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All works by Guy Cohen.
All works by Guy Cohen.
Daniel Tchetchik
Daniel Tchetchik

Two years ago, I moved to the center of Jerusalem, the heartland of religious life in Israel. Since then, I have lived as a complete secular surrounded by many various strains of each of the city's religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

I was pulled almost immediately into the fascinating world I had entered simply by chance, and found myself mingling in this special environment. Going into the communities, talking to people, watching their ceremonies and events, trying to learn and understand the traditions and laws in each of these places.

I wanted to understand the people comprising these communities to absorb some of the holiness that holds on to them so tightly, the hypnotism and the emotional totality that embraces people with faith.

At a certain point, I started to feel this spiritual wave even outside of the formal frameworks, in places that were not religious at all. These experiences caused me to feel (though I still haven't unraveled the true secret) that there was magic in the air here – all the time, everywhere.

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