Neighborhood communications

JERUSALEM — Take a stroll through the Mea Shearim neighborhood and listen to the walls speak.

Plastered on the stone face of one building is a dire warning, in thick Hebrew characters, about a hotel reportedly being built on the site of ancient Jewish graves. A few paces farther, a poster urges religious students in this ultra-Orthodox enclave to resist the “plague” of idleness during summer vacation.

On any given day, postings offer up glimpses of a family’s private strife or a tiff between neighbors, displayed for all to see in back-and-forth exchanges. Dozens of other notices are more mundane: advertisements for weekend getaways — strictly kosher, of course — Bible-themed children’s books, cures for constipation, death notices.

The posters, known collectively as pashkevilim, cover so much acreage in Mea Shearim that it sometimes looks as if a giant, blocks-long newspaper has been unfurled through the neighborhood’s cramped lanes.

For those who are unfamiliar with this it is kind of an interesting snapshot glance at people who live their lives in a different way from you. I am not a fan of isolationism, but there are some interesting aspects about this kind of community.

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