Venice... Paris… New York… Barcelona. And now Jerusalem. The 21st issue of Metropolis Magazine explores the wonder of our own home city. This time, Metropolis Magazine, which is published six times a year, combined with another publication of the Eretz Group, Eretz Magazine, to produce the first issue dedicated to an Israeli city and the first issue to appear both in Hebrew and English. Each issue of Metropolis Magazine focuses on a single world city. Using local writers, each issue attempts, the editors promise, "to touch the city and present a three-dimensional picture." "The decision to dedicate the issue to Jerusalem wasn't easy yet it was somehow natural," Yadin Roman, editor-in-chief of the Eretz Group, tells In Jerusalem. "Everyone at the editorial board felt that it was time to publish an issue on an Israeli city. During the four years of the intifada, Israel seemed to have been erased from all the popular and important tour guides. And book stores stopped stocking the few guides that do exist, because there was no demand. So we knew that there was a need for an up-date, modern, locally published guide, that would promote a different image and present a different image. "But an issue dedicated to Jerusalem posed unusual challenges," he continues. "We wanted to bring the current voices of the city. We didn't want to write only about religion and the conflict. "We wanted to get past the negative stereotypes. And when we did, we discovered that this is a truly fascinating city. Something is really happening here." Says Dita Kohl, editor of Metropolis, "We wanted to present a different city. This city is always too holy, too religious, too historical. So this issue of Metropolis makes a different, optimistic statement, without apologies." Roman continues, "I know that some readers will criticize us because we didn't include the history and the holiness and all the cliches about the soul of our people. We didn't want to." The Metropolis team has in fact succeeded in creating a very different guide to Jerusalem. Some might, as Roman anticipates, be put off, viewing this as Jerusalem-lite, with only a passing mention of churches, mosques and synagogues; only one article dedicated to the conflict, and none dedicated to the more "typical," "revered" or "sanctified" Jerusalem sites. Articles include "The Revolution in Mahane Yehuda"; "My Beloved Musrara - the once-troubled neighborhood that shines"; "The Jerusalem Print Workshop"; "A Tour of Ohel Moshe"; a portrait of the Khan Theater; a portrait of Ilan Garusi, whose Chakra restaurant on Rehov Shlomzion Hamalka helped to turn the street into a happening spot; and even an off-beat and wonderful review of the book by Moshe Hananel, who reveals Jerusalem's social history as it appears in the British Mandate's Last Jerusalem Telephone book. True to their commitment to present "three-dimensional cities," Metropolis' Jerusalem also includes articles on urban planning, historic preservation, and psychological and physical borders of fear. At times, it's all a little too off-beat, as if the writers were trying too hard and there is something a bit irking about the sanctity and awe with which the authors and publishers approached their work. But much more importantly, this is the Jerusalem that so many of us have been trying for years to describe to our friends down there on the coastal plain as we struggle (usually in vain) to convince them that there really is life - hip, savvy, exciting, and fun life - after Sha'ar Hagai. This is the Jerusalem that most Jerusalemites know. We've told you so, we Jerusalemites might want to say. "This issue really wasn't intended for Jerusalemites," Roman admits to IJ. "It's more for all those Tel Avivians who say that Jerusalem is 'too heavy for them to bear.' They won't have that excuse anymore. Yet the issue is fun and informative, even for Jerusalemites. It's filled with tidbits and interesting viewpoints, including an exceptionally informative piece on cultural life in east Jerusalem. Even jaded Jerusalemites, tired of walking through garbage and construction sites, might be motivated to get up and embark on another discovery-tour of their city, the way we once used to do, inspired by the wonderful, almost lyrical prose and the sumptuous, full-color pictures. And since most of the articles were written by Jerusalemites, they are full of a quality that might even be thought of as loving. Roman reveals that the production of this issue was unusually difficult. "Even though we were confident about our decision to present 'a different Jerusalem,' we did feel a particular responsibility towards the city. We received tremendous help from the municipality, but it was very difficult to photograph here because this city has so much dust and the construction everywhere certainly didn't make things any easier." Roman acknowledges that there are differences between the Hebrew and English editions - the cover photo, for example. "In the Hebrew edition, which is primarily for domestic consumption, we put the Dome of the Rock on the front. In the English edition, we didn't dare," he says. The English edition also includes an article on archeology and the digs at David's City, which has been omitted from the Hebrew edition, since their other Hebrew publication, Eretz V'Teva, covers archeology in Jerusalem extensively. The publishers and editors know their market. "The response to the English edition has been amazing," Roman says. "Almost all of our subscribers have requested to receive this issue, even though it costs extra. We'll definitely have to go into another printing." This 162-page magazine has been printed on high-quality paper with sumptuous graphics, truly beautiful photography, a 40-page city guide that lists latest sites, routes, dining and accommodation options, and more. The issue also includes a separate large-scale map with the most up-to-date details on the city and a pocket guide with selected routes around the city.

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