From the Desert to Jerusalem and Back Again – Lily Gottlieb

Many Jews I know who have participated in an organized trip to Israel have recounted that the trip, though fun and unlike any other travel experience, did not feel particularly meaningful until the group reached Jerusalem.

While my inaugural trip to the old city did have a great impact on my thoughts and feelings about Israel and Judaism, my experience in southern Israel had a similar role in fostering my personal connection to the state, its land and its people.


The desert is the complicated site of the historical wandering and settling of many nomadic peoples, representing a great deal of possibility atop mountains of buried struggle.  The energy of the desert resembles that of the city of Jerusalem where three major religions are layered in strata of coexistence and conflict. On my most recent trip to Israel, I sought to examine the connection between the desert and the Old City though photography.

Using a high-speed black and white film in my “old school” medium format analog camera, I shot both sites, looking to capture the mysticism and socio-political significance that each represents for me and my experience of the land and its conflict.  I organized the resulting images into a small book entitled “Dust,” emphasizing the importance of time and the uncovering of the past in understanding and dealing with the realities of the modern state of Israel. 

Jerusalem 2


Lily Gottlieb is a photographer graduating from the California Institute of the Arts this May. She is also an active member of the Los Angeles Jewish community, mostly working with Jewish youth. She will be traveling to Israel as a madricha on a NFTY in Israel trip this summer. 


About dustyicentered

Rabbinic Student at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, graduate of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education. I love a good story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: