Jerusalem From Every Direction

You’ve heard of the phrase “Two Jews, three opinions?”  If there’s one thing that unites the Jewish people it’s dissention.

When Jews pray, we face Jerusalem, since Jacob first said in Bereshit (Genesis) “And this [place] is the gateway to Heaven.”  Those of us who were brought up in Anglo-Western communities always faced east to pray, because Jerusalem was in the east.  Many homes even have a little picture or plaque on the wall, showing you which way is east, which way is Jerusalem.  But Jerusalem is not always in the east.  Yeah, when I was a good little yeshiva girl in the Bronx, Jerusalem was in the [south] east.  When my father was a good little yeshiva bocher back in Hungary Jerusalem was also in the [south] east.  And so we faced east.  But my cousin Ifat hanging out in Hong Kong with her yummy little baby?  If she wants to face Jerusalem she looks to the west.  Although I suppose, thanks to Christopher Columbus and his wacky navigational theories, if she faced east she’d be facing Jerusalem as well.  But what about my cousin Rebecca in Sweden?  She’s facing south.  And those Jews munching on biltong in South Africa, they face north.  When you get to Jerusalem itself, you can be in the same city and be facing in all different directions.  When I used to live in Armon Hanatziv we would look north to the most amazing view of Har Habayit.  And my friend Cara in Givat Ze’ev, she even has a plaque on her wall telling you which way is east, except it’s pointing south.  So no matter where we are, we are all looking for our focus point, but from different directions.  Jerusalem itself bends time and space to unite a people in prayer.  Think of it as a holy TARDIS.

The Promenade at Armon Hanatziv -- facing east from the south

Another thing that unites the Jews with its diversity is food.  You’ve heard of the phrase, “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.”  Supposedly nothing signifies victory more in Judaism than a good meal.  And even there we all disagree as to what makes a good meal.  An Ashkenazi plate of gefilte fish will make a Moroccan turn green.  A big bowl of Kurdish kubbeh soup will send the Yekkes to the trenches.  But one dish we all seem to love is shakshuka.  Whether it’s because it’s so much fun to say, or so much fun to eat, once you come to Israel and face Jerusalem from any direction, you fall in love with shakshuka.  Some like it hot, some like it mild, some like it runny (not me!) and some like it wild.  To avoid starting to sound like Dr. Seuss, let’s just crack some eggs and dig in.


Photo taken from

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, coarsely grated (you can use a can of crushed tomatoes instead)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper and/or hot red pepper flakes, to taste
  • paprika (mild or hot), to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan (preferably cast iron).
  2. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes, and pepper.
  3. Fry 15-20 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  4. Season with salt, pepper and paprika.
  5. Gently break the eggs (one by one) into a bowl and slip them into the simmering vegetables one by one.
  6. Cook until the egg whites harden and the yolk is almost hard.
  7. Serve immediately with chunks of fresh bread or pita bread.

Happy Jerusalem Day!

!יום ירושלים שמח

About Miriyummy

All I want to do is live happily ever after.

Posted on 31 May 2011, in Breakfast, Jerusalem, Jewish cooking, Low Carb, Passover, Savory Nosh, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Irmgard Upmanis

    They have a recipe for this in my Weight Watchers cookbook but they call it Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce. I love this dish, too, but my husband isn’t crazy about it. He says it’s too acidic because of the tomatoes. He complains about a lot of foods these days…


  2. Greetings from Southern California! I just came over from Toby’s blog to see what she was praising so highly and am really enjoying your recent posts, especially (so far) this one. Love your sense of humor, and this recipe looks good, I think I might try it. Most of all, love this video of Ofra Haza (which I may have misspelled)…I first discovered it a couple years ago. Anyway, I hope to come back and visit again!


  3. yes, also love your humor, but sorry, don’t agree we all agree about shakshouka – used to like it, in the days I ate eggs and tomatoes – now seeing food in a different light, as it affects the body and health – and discovering a whole new world of tastes with the experience


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