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Season of culture unites Jerusalem

Jerusalem Season of Culture includes artistic installations across city rooftops and an all-night dance party that combines Jewish soul music with Arabic liturgy.
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Jerusalem, Israel’s contested capital, is a city in conflict. Its crowded neighborhoods jut up against fault lines both political and personal. Its tribes — Jewish and Muslim, secular, extremist and all the colors in between — rub shoulders uncomfortably on the city’s buses and trains, but mostly stick to the corners of the city they have claimed for their own.

But Karen Brunwasser wants you to look closer. The Jerusalem she knows and loves, she says, is a place filled with diverse, boundary-defying people. As the deputy director of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, Brunwasser spearheads an annual summer festival of music, dance and performance art that has been calling citizens out of the woodwork since 2010. This year, after a monthlong calendar that included artistic installations across city rooftops; an all-night dance party that combined Jewish soul music with Arabic liturgy; and a live art performance that doubled as a sociology experiment, she is confident that others are beginning to recognize the change in Jerusalem as well.

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