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Going crazy for Jerusalemby michael • June 10 2008
Municipal news, Things to do
Ben Yehuda Street: ground zero for Jerusalem's various messiahs
In most of the world, madmen swathed in white robes furiously proclaiming to all within earshot that they are the embodiment of God sent to redeem humanity are kept out of heavily-trafficked public areas and hustled off to more environs more receptive to their message, like television. But in Jerusalem, crackpots who woke up one morning and found themselves Jesus are as accepted a part of the urban landscape as falafel and tight pants. The affliction, as every Jerusalem resident knows, is peculiarly local, and the city has given it its name: Jerusalem syndrome. Jerusalemites view the various babbling avatars of the Lord with something approximating affection: they're crazy, but they're Jerusalem's own special one-of-a-kind crazy, and even psychosis can be an excuse for civic pride.
In the medical literature, the condition is referred to as a form of "psychotic decompensation" or a "unique acute psychotic state."
So are the Catholics and Orthodox cooler customers overall, or does God simply prefer to speak through the medium of Protestants? Christian ecumenism may never be the same.
The article goes on to mention that, curiously, Muslims are not affected by Jerusalem syndrome. (Wait until that nugget of information pops up in the Jerusalem final status negotiating room.) And fortunately for all the putative scions of David out there, it seems the vast majority of syndrome sufferers quickly recover without any lasting ill effects.
Jerusalemite is curious to know how those suffering from the most extreme cases of Jerusalem syndrome - the ones declaiming and waving scepters in the streets - manage to make enough of a living to support their, um, hobby. Also, where do they get the rad scepters? To be accepted into the Jerusalem syndrome prophet's union, do you have to go the Jedi route and build your own, or is there a one-stop-Messianic-delusion-shop somewhere in the Old City market?
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