It was not love at first sight – or even second. In fact, it took a few years before Jerusalem came to have a special meaning for me.When I came to live here in 1971, I frankly wondered what all the fuss was about. Australia, my birthplace, had bigger cities with wider streets, magnificent beaches and a sun-drenched climate. London, where I’d once also lived, had more dignity, more graciousness. Venice had more charm, Paris more magic. What was so special about Jerusalem?There is no one moment that I can pinpoint when I fell in love with this city. It happened so slowly and imperceptibly that I wasn’t even aware of it. One day it was just another city – rather on the small side, and then – one day, it was my city.Everyone has an image of their Garden of Eden. Unbelievably, I am living in mine, and I feel an enormous privilege and, with it, a rather frightening sense of responsibility. Every now and again, the whole concept that I live in Jerusalem seems to engulf and overwhelm me. It’s a place that in personal terms you have to live up to.“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” wrote the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.It is easy to write poetry in Jerusalem, and many are inspired to do so. Perhaps it’s the light. Dawn comes stealthily, a rosy haze reflecting off masses of gray stone. And when the sun sets, the darkness is black velvet spangled with golden lights. Maybe it’s the sound of Jerusalem – the wind sighs like mourning ghosts in the pine trees that abound here, silhouetted blackly against the sky.Then again it could be the perfume of sage, thyme and rosemary that wafts down in the early morning from the Judean hills. It could be the sense of history in the Old City, as you walk where kings and prophets have walked, where the Bible is a living entity and where you go about your daily life in the city of King David.I think, for me, it is the spirituality – a feeling of God’s presence. Not just at the Western Wall, although there you feel it the most. Hardened soldiers embraced it and kissed its stones when it became ours once more in 1967. Even when you’re there as a spectator, you cannot fail to be moved at the sight of men and women dwarfed by the towering Wall, chanting their prayers, some crying over sorrows they can relate only in this holy place, writing notes that they cram between the crevices in the giant stones. You approach it yourself diffidently, feeling unworthy. Soon you, too, are unburdening yourself in prayer and feeling the comfort you can’t analyze, unless it’s the belief that Someone is really listening.Jerusalem is not a place, it is an emotion. It is history and tragedy, loss and victory, the past and the future. It is the dream of our forefathers and our own present reality. Above all, it is a people – a rich ethnic mosaic, multicultural and multilingual. It is the ingathering of the exiles and it is eternity.When I was a little girl, my mother often enjoined me to count my blessings. The greatest blessing of all is that I have come to live in Jerusalem, and that my eyes have finally been opened to perceive its unique and abiding beauty.