A place that holds the hopes, dreams and inspirations for all three Abrahamic religions, Jerusalem is not just a location, it is also an ideal. So many conflicts focus on reclaiming this holy land, and from what we see in the recent months, it is likely that the conflict will worsen. But what of the people who live there? What is life like for people who actually lived in such a sacred and holy place?
Elisha Waldman, American pediatric oncologist who spent seven years in Jerusalem, gives us a glimpse of life there when he worked in a Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center and caring for children—Israeli Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza—who had all been diagnosed with cancer. A practising yet also liberal Jewish man who studied medicine in Israel, Waldman went back to Jerusalem to give back to the land he loves, even though he has to return to America due to the hospital’s financial difficulties.
Waldman’s memoir chronicles his 7 years in Jerusalem, and the collision between his strong religious belief and the cold reality of the medical world. His faith is further challenged when he took a fellowship in palliative care and exposes him to the spiritual needs of his dying patients. Waldman is also exposed to the reality of the oppression and mistreatment of Palestinians on a daily basis, and the constant threat of explosive violence.
Candid and revealing, This Narrow Space is an engrossing debut by a physician whose life is changed for the better by the child patients he meet and the hope for a nation no longer divided by strife and hate.
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