Thursday, November 10, 2011

The giant candlestick

Photo #36

NEVER LET it be said that Louis is having a dull time here. Today's treat was a visit to, wait for it, a giant candlestick. It had captivated him ever since he'd spotted its image on the mini Jerusalem jigsaw we picked up in a gift shop on our first weekend. He'd remark on it every time we saw a picture around town, and I'd promised him we could go and find it one day.

The candlestick, or menorah, sits opposite the Knesset on what felt like the highest of the city's seven hills. And that was my legs talking; goodness knows what our vertiginous scramble felt like to a three year old. It was a 6km round trip from our flat, which Louis initially insisted on doing on foot, but then conceded to take his scooter. As if that wasn't exercise enough, he stopped at a playground on both the outward and homeward legs of the journey.

Our trip took us through Gan Sacher, the city's largest park, which is somewhat hard to navigate as there are hardly any entrances. I'm sure we didn't go the authorised route, mainly because we were greeted by vast rolls of barbed wire. Then again, considering there were about three checkpoints even to get to the screening gate for the Knesset, maybe the barbed wire was par for the course; this is Israel.

My fears that what is essentially a 5m-high bronze sculpture would disappoint were entirely misplaced: Louis loved it. The 38 photos he took on my phone bear testament to his delight. I'm still not quite sure of the appeal. It's not as if he took in the ravages of Jewish history, as depicted by British-Jewish sculptor Benno Elkan on each of its prongs, or noted the irony that it was a gift from British lefties: the Labour Party in 1956 to celebrate Israel's eighth Independence Day.

But I guess to a three year old, it really is just a giant candlestick. Atop a very steep hill. And what's not cool about that?

No comments: