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Erin Tolman Releases A View of Jerusalem

Even eight years after returning to the United States, the view of Jerusalem’s Old City from the top of the Mount of Olives remained vivid in author Erin Tolman’s mind, as did the sound of gunfire and sirens which marked the beginning of the Second Intifada in September 2000. Unable to let the memories remain only in her journal, Tolman wrote a series of thirty-eight vignettes describing her semester as a student at the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies and titled the collection A View of Jerusalem.

A View of Jerusalem begins on September 29, 2000 when Palestinian rioters and Israeli police clashed in the Old City and sparked a brutal conflict which lasted for years. While Tolman and the other 175 students at the Jerusalem Center remained safe during the following two months, their study abroad experience changed dramatically at that point.

After opening her account with this historically pivotal day, Tolman contrasts life at the Jerusalem Center before and after the violence begins. She visits the Garden Tomb, floats in the Dead Sea, walks on the Temple Mount, and describes the daily routines of the Jerusalem Center. As hostilities erupt and continue, Tolman is able to explore parts of Israel, Jordan, and Egypt until she and the other students are sent home a month early and the Jerusalem Center closed its doors to students. Those doors remained closed until January 2007 when forty-four students returned to study at the Center.

Steven L. Elgan created pencil drawings to accompany ten vignettes. Among the illustrations included are The Jerusalem Center, The Dome of the Rock, St. John the Baptist Church, and the Church of Beatitudes.

For more information, please go to A View of Jerusalem’s website at