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Today the tour guide that once knocked on my door to ask what the sign ‘Jerusalem gården’ meant and saw my art, asked: “Tomorrow I have to take a group of cancer patients from the Hadassah organization through Yemin Moshe. Could I possibly have them come in for a moment for a rest, and could you maybe speak to them?” I agreed, and now it has become a tradition. Last Shabbath was amazing in terms of unexpected events. Someone had advised the three-year initiative of “Houses from Within,” an annual Jerusalem open house, to ask me open our home between 3 to 6 pm. After our synagogue attendance, by mid-day, people were already lining up and by the time it was dark we estimated that around 2000 Israelis had been through the house, with some waiting in line for two hours; the line extended all the way down to the Music Center by the Windmill. Of all the 96 different places taking part in the open house day, ours was the only one in Yemin Moshe. Volunteers were even sent from Tel Aviv to guard the door and let a maximum 60 people in at a time to hear me tell about the house and my life here every 15 min. Again, just as when the special Israeli Defense Force units of officers keep coming throughout the past three years, I have a sense of: “For this I have come!”
The Israeli evening show on lifestyle and property, after the news on channel 10, broadcast a feature on our home as a promotion of the Jerusalem Open House week-end. They apparently chose us and one other out of 96 historical places. Why us? Because of the personalities involved, they said! The English News had also featured our home the Friday afternoon before. Again the favor and recognition feels like a warm stroke of love and gives even a home much purpose. The hostess interviewing me in Hebrew accepted my Yvrit al ha panim, my Hebrew ‘on the face’, and when I use the Hebrew/Arabic slang ‘kmo habla’ I always get a laugh. She asked me: “Did you know when leaving Sweden that you would have a museum in Jerusalem?”
“My friend Birgitta Yavari-Ilan is one of the most interesting souls in Jerusalem.
Her home is like an embassy of hope, an oasis of truth for intellectuals, doubters and wayfarers. In fact, Birgitta’s home in the colourful artists’ colony of Yemin Moshe’, the oldest Jerusalem neighbourhood outside of the ancient city walls, is as fascinating as her personality. Filled with romantic artwork and memorabilia of her Swedish ancestry and Jewish connections, her home never ceases to vibrate with conversations of all nationalities. Some of the kindest words I have ever heared in Jerusalem has come from her. Her artwork is both arresting and intriguing, deeply beautiful and poetic.
Christine Darg, Jerusalem/UK