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  • Talma Gotteiner

Jerusalem: Launching the Self-Guided "Someone to Run With" Tour

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

Hi there,

The Jerusalem Municipality has turned the book "Someone to Run With"", a book by David Grossman, winner of the Israel Prize for Literature, into a fascinating illustration tour in Jerusalem. Since its publication, 20 years ago, the book has been translated into dozens of languages ​​and over the years has become a classic in Israel and around the world. The book, whose plot revolves around a love story and a journey of adolescence that takes place on the streets of Jerusalem, has been successfully adapted into theater and cinema and has brought many readers and teenagers from all over the world to get to know the capital through the eyes of the characters and fall in love with it.

Now, for the first time in Israel, the Jerusalem Municipality through the Department of Plastic Arts and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, has turned the book into a fascinating self-guided tour. The tour is accompanied by audio clips of President Reuven Rivlin, Jerusalem's Mayor Moshe Leon, the author David Grossman himself and students of the experimental school. The clips will be available in English next month or shortly thereafter.

Jerusalem: Launching the Self-Guided "Someone to Run With" Tour
Above: Kids from our tour with the artist Leora Wise

The illustration route passes through special sites of Jerusalem including: 'Sergei's Courtyard', 'Cats Square' and the remains of the 'Talitha Kumi' building, which are still considered significant in the lives of the city's youth and are prominent landmarks in the book.

The idea to found the illustrations tour was derived from the "City Tale" project that seeks to change the perception of the public space and develops traditional murals in a way that generates wandering and curiosity towards the next exhibit in the series. Passers-by are captivated by the original works and together with the eternal charm of Jerusalem they are induced to fall in love with the city.

Jerusalem: Launching the Self-Guided "Someone to Run With" Tour
Launch event participants

Left to Right per row from the top: Hila Smolyansky and Edit Ilan from the Department of Plastic Arts at the Jerusalem Municipality, Salar Imamlayev - Sergei's Courtyard Manager, artist Leora Wise, Ilana Zeidman curator of Tmol Shilshom, standing with Bar Belfer, actress starring as Tamar in the movie, Dan Goldberg founder & owner of Tmol Shilshom, children from the Experimental School in Jerusalem who participated in the audio podcasts

"City Tale" is an initiative of the Jerusalem Municipality that seeks to give expression to visual art in the public space and to add values ​​of culture and tourism to the city. In honor of the 20th anniversary of the publication of the book most identified with Jerusalem - "Someone to Run With" - the art department called on Leora Wise - a multidisciplinary Jerusalem artist to take part in the project. Leora has illustrated eight works inspired by David Grossman's book and they are currently placed in eight major centers in the city. Under each piece, on the explanatory sign, is a barcode that leads to short audio clips consisting of the historical background accompanied by moving reading excerpts from the book in the voice of Einat Avni. At the same stop additional recordings with appear including: an appropriate paragraph from the book recorded in Grossman's voice and recordings of the students of the "experimental" school in which they express their opinions on topics discussed in the book such as "How to deal with loneliness?", "The importance of cultural diversity" and more. These talks are designed enhance the personal experience and captivate youth as well.

The Mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Leon has commended the work of the developers stating that the city of Jerusalem has proven once again that even when it comes to instituting special cultural projects - there is definitely someone to run with.

Jerusalem: Launching the Self-Guided "Someone to Run With" Tour

Above: Photos from some of the stops along the way. The castle tower is in Sergei's courtyard. The ceramics are from Guilda's Ceramics Gallery near Cats Square.

Please note that you don't need to wear headphones to enjoy the tour. You can listen to the audio clips from your mobile phone on speaker.

Writer David Grossman has stated "I really enjoyed writing the book. I ran after it like Assaf ran after Dinka or rather, was dragged after her. When the book came out and generated reactions, I started to recognize a special smile of people who approached me. I knew it was a "Someone to Run With" smile and that they wanted to tell me something about their experience. A friend's daughter told me that she and her partner were traveling in Slovakia and it was dusk and suddenly a country woman came out onto the porch and shouted "Dinka, Dinka" and a dog, a mixed Labrador and Golden Retriever, crossed the fields and ran home. The friend could not resist, asked the landlady why the dog is called 'Dinka' and she replied: "What do you mean? It's because of the book 'Someone to Run With'." I have won all sorts of honors and awards in my life, but the fact that there is a dog in my name in Slovakia is highly gratifying. And now, after 20 years, the fact that illustrations on the streets of Jerusalem inspired by the book lead children and adults can through the city enabling them to get to know the history and my story fills me with pleasure."

The stations where the illustrations and audio clips are placed include:

  1. Sergei's Courtyard - 13 Heleni HaMalka St.

  2. Cats Square - 22 Yosef Rivlin St.

  3. Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Street - 39 Jaffa St.

  4. Zion Square - 5 Ben Yehuda St.

  5. Talitha Kumi - King George St.

  6. Even Yisrael neighborhood - 3 Even Yisrael St.

  7. The Strawberry Garden - 42 Hakarmel St.

  8. Lifta - at Lifta's natural spring

You can open an interactive map here.

Enjoy the tour!


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