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  • East Meets West: Israeli World Music
  • East Meets East: New Oriental Music
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    About Olam Qatan

    You have arrived at our website, either through the portal of innerjerusalem.com or olamqatan.com. The name Olam Qatan  means “microcosm.” When I opened the bookstore in the Spring of 1997, I wanted to emphasize the idea that that each of us is the center of our own world – that it’s up to us as individuals to choose and integrate what supports our wholeness. But the Hebrew phrase Olam Qatan also happens to mean “it’s a small world.” And although at first I resisted the idea, I realized that it would ‘fit’ to make Olam Qatan a place for World Music as well. This was at about the time that I began studying a bit of oriental music theory and taking lessons on the Turkish saz, at Jerusalem’s Center for Oriental Classical Music. And I believe that the spirit of musical fusion which is so alive in Israel today, goes along with the spiritual quest of the individual. You might say it provides a kind of “sound-track” for the spiritual search.

    For 9 years Olam Qatan has been Jerusalem’s non-denominational spiritual bookstore. Well, it’s hard to make a living in Jerusalem just by selling books… or even books, and CDs, and ‘New Age’ gift items! The struggle to survive gave me a push to go beyond the weekly lectures we were offering in the store and develop the “Olam Qatan School.” For 1½ years I rented the basement beneath the bookstore, and hosted all kinds of spiritual and holistic classes, workshops and even a series of Caf? Concerts there. But I found that whatever its virtues, running a “School” along with a bookstore took more energy (both financial and human) than it returned. So while Olam Qatan continues to sponsor occasional events, I have turned my attention in the direction of publishing books, and offering some of our favorite music here in Jerusalem to the rest of the world.

    Just as each of us is a center of the “world” we experience around us, Jerusalem is a center of the larger world in which we live. “Zion” or Jerusalem has long been regarded as that meeting point where East and West, North and South converge – like in the medieval map, above. Clearly, Jerusalem is the center where the aspirations of followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam converge. It has been a meeting point for pilgrims, for as long as these religions have been around – echoing the original meeting of Father Abraham with Melchizedek, “the King of Salem.” (Shalem, which is the original Hebrew name for Jerusalem, means “wholeness,” as well as being related to the word shalom or “peace”).

    Jerusalem: City of Wholeness, City of Peace. One of the wonders of Jerusalem is the fact that on a daily basis, the city works as well as it does! Not only does it serve as Israel’s capital while it accommodate followers of the three religions, but it manages to accommodate various sects of these religions not known for getting along with one another. No less significant, I think, is the way in which Jerusalem allows for secular and religious co-existence. For more than a conflict between religions, the conflict in the Middle East might be seen as an East-West conflict between religion and secularism. The worst thing about this “clash of civilizations” is the tendency of both sides to be right – for extremes on both sides to exemplify their most negative and/or superficial characteristics. What is needed is the kind of exchange where the best features of both tradition and modernity begin to emerge. Being Jewish, I rejoice when I see this being fostered within Judaism, and within each of the religions, as well as in the encounter between them. The idea of an “inner Jerusalem” suggests that each of us as can draw from the best of both old and new – first to nurture our own growth, and then to share the fruits with one another.   

    That’s a lot of heavy theory for a commercial website! Well, you might say that it comes with the territory. We hope that your visit to the Jerusalem marketplace of Olam Qatan will enable you to see “what’s happening” today in the Holy Land... at a deeper level than what the newspapers reflect. And also, that it will allow you to look through the lens of Jerusalem, to better appreciate treasures hidden within yourself.

    Thanks for paying us a visit!


    Ya’qub ibn Yusuf, Proprietor

    שיווק בפייסבוק  
    +972-2-5637507 (Sun-Thurs, 10am-2pm, 4pm-7pm Israel Time)   |   Olam Qatan © 2008   |   Hosted by Alefhost.com