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August 2005 - Steve Aronson
People can all get along. It does happen. And, ironically, it’s happening in Jerusalem.
I traveled to this walled city recently, not on business and not to see friends.
just made it through a crisis in my personal life. I traveled alone as a
pilgrim, curious about why this walled city held so much significance
for three of the world’s most important religions.
that Jerusalem is a true crossroads of culture. It’s a mecca for
Christians, Jews and Muslims the world over. That means just about every
nationality is present there, within the space of about 224 acres.
That’s the size of a medium-sized coffee farm.
I walked the
stations of the cross in the city’s Christian section. I visited the
Church of the Pater Noster, where The Lord’s Prayer is displayed in more
than 100 languages.
In the Jewish section I visited the Wailing Wall and tucked a prayer, written on a piece of paper, between its stones.
the Muslim section I walked to the entrance of the Dome of the Rock.
This is the site from which Mohammed is said to have ascended into
Heaven and Jesus last prayed before his crucifixion.
All of this
is within a few minutes walk. Jerusalem is a place of convergence. Every
form of dress is present. Hundreds of languages and ways of viewing the
world all coexist peacefully. That’s what so impressive about the
You also encounter every kind of food you can imagine. I
talked to a lot of people in Jerusalem. And being a coffee groupie,
well, let’s just say the subject came up.
When you ask for coffee
in the Arab section, you get a very strong, small ceramic cup blended
with cardamom and made Turkish style, boiled three times. You drink two
or three of them.
In the Jewish section, they make coffee using
the cheapest French press in the world – a spoon, used to press the
coffee grounds to the bottom of a boiling glass. In the Christian
section, everyone has drip coffee makers.
It gave me pause to
reflect. When people ask “Which is the best coffee in the world? the
answer is, “Different strokes for different folks.” People in different
cultures have varying relationships with coffee. It’s all good. That’s
why at Britt, we’ve developed many blends and regionals, with flavors
ranging from bright to strong.
Outside the walled city, is the
congested traffic of modern Israel. The soldiers with automatic machine
guns. The noise and tension of one of the world’s hotbeds of cultural
Inside the walls, Jerusalem is peace. It’s not an Arab
world. It’s not an Israeli or Christian or Jewish world. It’s the whole
world. I was profoundly moved by it.
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