Shalom Mea Shearim!

Grey, dilapidated buildings along narrow streets devoid of any signs other than temporary pieces of paper announcing religious events. Bearded men in black hats and long coats. The occasional woman dragging her long skirt along the ground while tugging a bunch of kids along.

You could be forgiven for thinking you have just walked into a Jewish neighbourhood of pre war Eastern Europe. However, it’s present day business as usual in Mea Shaerim, a short walk from Damascus gate in the old, walled city of Jerusalem. This is home to the Hasedim people (ultra orthodox Jews).

This is where I decided to celebrate the holy festival of Purim. What I discovered was a very conservative religious group of people who’s passion allows them to leave their inhibitions aside once a year, and celebrate in a manner that could easily be misinterpreted by outsiders.

As a photo journalist I was able to join them in their celebrations, but it was made abundantly clear to me that other journalists in the past have sensationalized their behaviour. Yes, they are drunk. Yes, there were under age kids smoking. Yes, there were grown men doing summer saults down the middle of the road. However, they insisted that this was all part and parcel of their religious belief.

As a token of my appreciation for allowing me in, I would like to take this opportunity to invite all the Hasedim people out there to contribute in creating my picture texts. My collection of images from Mea Shearim can be found here.

Feel free to make comments below by indicating which picture you are referring to. Or drop me a line at spencer@photito.com

Your help will be much appreciated!

A final thank you to all the residents of Mea Shearim for making my visit so special.

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2 comments on “Shalom Mea Shearim!

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