About 15 minutes south of Jerusalem, away from the tourists, museums, and congestion of the old city is a quiet, residential neighborhood where my friend Fern and her husband Joe live.

Lining the narrow streets are houses and apartments made from the same stone construction you see in the old city. Everywhere you see trees and flowers. They are planted too close to the buildings as if no one ever thought they would grow. But they did, and now the branches and blossoms overhang every wall.