This year’s intersection of Jewish new-year holidays and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan—a rarity due to Islam’s changing calendar—is felt particularly keenly in Jerusalem, a sacred city for both religions, Ethan Bronner notes in the New York Times. Night has become “a kind of monotheistic traffic jam,” with devout Jews praying at the Western Wall while Muslims break their fast.
Many devout Jews and Muslims insist the holy city belongs to their religion alone. But secular Israelis, many visiting Jerusalem to celebrate the holidays, had a more inclusive reaction to the nocturnal milling-about of penitent or fasting worshipers. “We have been taught that here we are at the center of the world,” said one 17-year-old. “These are the gates to heaven.”