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On this week’s episode, host Marcela Sulak takes us on a small excursion to Musrara, a neighborhood in Jerusalem with poems by Liat Kaplan, translated by Irit Sela, as our guide. Musrara was founded by upper-class Christian Arabs in the late 19th century when people began to live outside the Old City of Jerusalem. During the War of Independence, the residents fled or were expelled. The neighborhood – inhabited by new olim from North Africa -was frequently exposed to snipers until 1967. In 1971, a second generation of Mizrahi Jews founded the Israeli Black Panther movement in the town. Today, the neighborhood is a symbol for the city’s complexity and home to a vibrant cultural center.

This is an exerpt from Kaplan’s poem On What is Outside the Photograph:

“When photographed, Mussrara is almost composed of the sum of her details,
various types of enclosures: asbestos, containers, radiance among leaves, cages,
barriers, plants, walls, trees, bushes. Doors, partitions, trapped
sun rays, fences and cracks, ramparts, balconies, roofs. Cactuses.
And more details: laundry, construction refuse, scaffoldings.
Outside the photograph it has no existence.
Now, while we look
there is no existence outside the photograph.”

Liat Kaplan was born on a Kibbutz and currently lives in Tel Aviv. She is the author of six collections of poetry, and her work has been widely anthologized. She frequently collaborates with painters, photographers, and composers. Kaplan also works, or has worked, as poetry editor for the Bialik Institute, Helicon, Pardes, Am Oved, and Carmel Publishers. She has worked as director, teacher, and workshop instructor at the Helicon School of poetry.

Reading on Kaplan’s poetry
About Musrara

Ibrahim Maalouf – Illusions
Ibrahim Maalouf – Movement
Ibrahim Maalouf – Verdict
Between Waters and Waters, Ittai Rosenbaum and Liat Kaplan

Producer: Ariella Plachta
Technical producer: Tammy Goldenberg

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