The delight of shuk fever, and more….
Just an ordinary day in Jerusalem and suddenly things become crystal clear: Mahane Yehuda market is full of vegetables, herbs and fruit, however it also contains numerous stories. Simple signs above the stalls and shops give a silent but powerful hint of a rich and intriguing past: “Established in 1973”. “Since 1936”.
These simple signs plant seeds in our creative brain. Back in Holland it feels like the market is still with us. Clearly, Israel’s biggest market is here to stay, wherever we are. After some intense ping pong discussion we know one thing for certain: At the shuk waits a compelling and fascinating story, ready to be told. By us, needless to say.
The following months we dive deeper and deeper into the history of the market. Time and again we can only determine that we were right since the first moment: This is a unique market with a unique story. Came this market suddenly out of the blue? Just in the middle of nowhere, somewhere back in the days of the Ottoman Empire? While trying to answer this question we find ourselves in a world of radical rabbis and fearless pioneers. In the end they all have the same goal: the building of Jewish neighborhoods outside the overcrowded City Walls.
Our endless obsessive curiosity leads us to a broader story than the shuk alone: The market and its market. It’s high time to travel to Jerusalem to get the right stories and images. There we are extremely lucky to meet rabbi Mordechai, all thanks to following our curiosity. The very first question on the first day is: Shall we go to our familiar market or shall we explore the unknown Nachlaot? The Nachlaot, is the answer. The Nachlawhat??? Yes, the Nachlaot, the neighborhood of which we read about a great lot, but which we had never visited before. Shame on us! After a few minutes we meet rabbi Mordechai, in front of his yeshive. His ancestors were one of the founding fathers of the Nachlaot. The rabbi is full of stories and he is happy and eager to share them with us. Bingo! This not only feels like gold, this truly is gold!
One side effect is that the rabbi delivers us an extra mania: Nachlaot mania. Back again in the Low Lands both the neighborhood and shuk rule our lives. It’s driving the people around us crazy, but it does the same with us. Due to all these new facts, stories, events and so on, our story threatens to become a never-ending story. Are our readers really interested in religious conflicts between numerous rabbis and who did what first where and why? The answer is clear, and it begins with ‘n’.
This is going to be a book about people in their daily lives, from 1865 up until now. That means: searching for personal stories in obscure archives, but first and foremost talking to the people themselves. With our pictures we make the text even stronger. Finally we will explore another unknown world to us: the world of video.
Chances that we get bored the coming months look fairly small. That’s the best for everyone.