Why I Wrote this Book
I am excited to share my book with you, Still Loving Jerusalem: Conversations with my Palestinian and Israeli Friends.
The first insight that I would write this book was when I was walking alone one afternoon in Israel, on the dry, scrubby hills high above Kibbutz Ein Gedi where I was volunteering in 1978 (one of the trips not mentioned in my book). Looking out at the view of the cliffs and the lush kibbutz below me, suddenly I knew I would write a book about my friends in Israel. It felt something like a calling.
After that trip, I didn't give writing a book about Israel much thought until 12 years later when I spent the summer in Israel in 1990. At the end of that trip, Saddam Hussain’s Iraqi army invaded Kuwait during the Gulf War, and people in Israel started cleaning out their bomb shelters and distributing gas masks.
When I came back to the United States, I read over my journal entries about what I had experienced and talked about with my Palestinian and Israeli friends, and decided their conversations with me were too important to store inside my closed, spiral notebooks. So I started transforming my journal entries into a manuscript. Long suppressed memories of living through the Yom Kippur War in 1973 in Jerusalem when I was on a one-year study/work program kept springing up so I included them as well.
In 2009, although married by then with a young daughter, I took the plunge to go back to Israel alone to search out some of my old Palestinian and Israeli friends to complete my now years-long manuscript. While there, I stayed at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the only official village in Israel where Palestinians and Israelis live together in peace. I made new friends from the village and wrote about them as well as my finding many of my old friends. On that trip, I also visited Ramallah and other areas in the West Bank. I wanted to see some areas of the West Bank with my own eyes to help me understand the situation better than what I was getting from the news.
In the spirit of our shared humanity, I invite you to read about the experiences and the personal conversations I had with my Palestinian and Israeli friends who live in Israel.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace,