The Holy City, incomplete

'The Streets of Jerusalem' is not quite what it promises.

Longtime readers of The Jerusalem Post may remember former staff writer Helga Dudman's Street People, a free-ranging mixture of biography and urban geography that offered amusing vignettes about names that crop up on street signs across Israel. Ronald Eisenberg's The Streets of Jerusalem attempts to do the same for Jerusalem signposts, and promises to be authoritative - not only who's who, but what's what and even why. Alas, Eisenberg's effort is not quite up to the encyclopedic task he sets himself. First and foremost, the book is largely missing the many alleys and by-ways of the Muslim and Christian Quarters of the Old City and east Jerusalem. For example, while it mentions Via Dolorosa, the Old Citys' most famous road, Wadi Joz is missing. This meandering street, meaning Arroyo of Walnuts in Arabic, is synonymous with the garages and car repair shops that line the narrow valley. Before the intifada, Wadi Joz was a favorite spot for Jerusalemites of all backgrounds looking to fix their car on the cheap. Similarly there is no mention of al-Adawiyya, the main drag of the neighborhood of a-Tur on the Mount of Olives and site of al-Muqasad Hospital - the main medical center for the Arabic-speaking sector of Jerusalem. Nor is there a listing for Abu Obeidah Ibn el-Jarah Street and its landmark Orient House - the now-defunct Jerusalem headquarters of the PLO where Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II stopped for tea on his visit in 1898. The Streets of Jerusalem is also missing a few critical elements that one would expect from a book of this type. Absent is an index, as are listings of street names in Hebrew - not to mention Arabic. Also missing is a biography of author Ronald Eisenberg. Another fault is inconsistency in translating names. As every visitor to Jerusalem's Nahalat Shiva bar and entertainment district knows, one of the seven founders of this quaint neighborhood was Yoel Moshe Salomon, not Joel Moses. In fact, The Streets of Jerusalem was obsolete even before it was published. None of the streets of Har Homa, Jerusalem's newest neighborhood, made the directory. Nor do streets which have risen in recent years where the apple orchards of Kibbutz Ramat Rahel once stood, like Primo Levi and the Ruthie Baram Promenade. If Eisenberg should publish a second edition, he might wish to also consider including a map referencing the streets he annotates.