Friday, September 29, 2017



A bewitching love story that is also an extraordinary portrait of Jerusalem, its faith, spirituality, identity, and kaleidoscope of clashing beliefs, Night in Jerusalem is a novel of mystery, beauty, historical insight, and sexual passion.

David Bennett is invited to Jerusalem in 1967 by his cousin who, to the alarm of his aristocratic British family, has embraced Judaism. He introduces David to his mentor, Reb Eli, a revered sage in the orthodox community. Despite his resistance to religious teaching, David becomes enthralled by the rabbi’s wisdom and compassionate presence. When David discloses a sexual problem, Reb Eli unwittingly sets off a chain of events that transforms his life and the life of the mysterious prostitute, Tamar, who, in a reprise of an ancient biblical story, leads both men to an astonishing realization. As passions rise, the Six Day War erupts, reshaping the lives of everyone caught up in it.


A few of your favorite things: 
I especially enjoy a painting of a beautiful woman by Zivanna Gojanovic which hangs in my bedroom. It’s painted on reverse glass and it resembles the paintings of Gustav Klimt, only with a luminous glow given by the glass. She has a Madonna quality about her, and a red ribbon flowing around her neck with  “Love Conquers All” written on it in Latin.
Things you need to throw out: 
I don’t really need to throw out anything just now as I don’t keep anything I don’t need - that would add cement to my wings. I’m definitely at the minimalist end of the spectrum. I’m very affected by the space I am in. When I discovered feng shui it was like finding a language I had been speaking my whole life, but didn’t know anyone else spoke.

Things you love about writing:
I love creating my characters and their world, and getting to know them as they reveal themselves. I love living with them, and understanding what makes them do the things they do and seeing how their lives unfold.
Things you hate about writing:
Worrying if what I’m writing is any good; feeling stuck, and not knowing what to do about it, and being alone with it.

Things you love about where you live:
I live in Ojai, a small town set in a valley with mountains on three sides, opening to the ocean. I love its serenity and natural beauty, and the people who have gathered here – ranchers, new agers, writers, artists, Hollywood refugees - and the amazing schools. It has all the amenity of a small town, plus a vibrant community.
Things that make you want to move:
I am drawn to water! I’d love to live by the sea, or a large body of water. I love John O’Donahue’s notion of “landscape as presence”  and there are places where I feel especially alive. For example, I’m strongly attracted to Devon and Cornwall in England.

Words that describe you: 
Dances to her own drum.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:
Impatient,  opinionated, temperamental, and too forthright for her own good.

Favorite music:
I love Leonard Cohen,  I never tire of his songs,  like "I’m Your Man," "In My Secret Life," "Suzanne," "I’ll Take Berlin . . . "  I also love opera, especially Puccini, and Bizet. The Pearl Fishers is my favorite. It tugs at my heart.
Music that make your ears bleed:
I’ve never been a fan of hard rock and banging rhythms, and I’m pretty much allergic to country music.

Something you’re really good at:

I’m really good at creating beautiful  spaces to live in – homes for the soul.
Something you’re really bad at:

Something you wish you could do:
Paint beautiful landscapes.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do:

People you consider as heroes:
Mother Teresa, Anwar Sadat, Martin Luther King. 

People with a big L on their foreheads: 
Actually, not a L but a T. Blowhards and bullies.

Last best thing you ate:
Clam linguine.

Last thing you regret eating:
Too much Tiramisu.

Things to say to an author:
I loved your book!! Can’t wait for the next one.
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:
I didn’t understand what you were trying to say.

Favorite places you’ve been:
The English countryside, Luxor, Jerusalem, and Big Sur.

Places you never want to go to again:

People you’d like to invite to dinner:
Barack and Michelle Obama
People you’d cancel dinner on:

Best thing you’ve ever done:
Giving birth to my daughter.

Biggest mistake:
Not having her earlier in life, and not having another child.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done:
Buying my first house while on unemployment.

Something you chickened out from doing:
Riding on a BMW motorcycle through Paris.

The last thing you did for the first time:
Change my mind after I was sure I had done the right thing.

Something you’ll never do again:
Spend time with anyone I don’t like.


Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy lived in Israel in the 1960s, a naive twenty-year-old, hoping to find herself and her place in the world. The possibility of war was remote to her. She imagined the tensions in the region would somehow be resolved peacefully. Then, the Six Day War erupted and she experienced it firsthand in Jerusalem.

She has drawn Night in Jerusalem from her experiences during that time. The historical events portrayed in the novel are accurate. The characters are based on people Gaelle knew in the city. Like her, they were struggling to make sense of their lives, responding to inherited challenges they could not escape that shaped their destiny in ways they and the entire Middle East could not have imagined.

Gaelle has always been intrigued by the miraculous. How and where the soul’s journey leads and how it reveals its destiny. How two people who are destined, even under the threat of war and extinction, can find one another.

Israel’s Six Day War is not a fiction; neither was the miracle of its victory. What better time to discover love through intrigue, passion, and the miraculous.

Writing this story was in part Gaelle's reliving her history in Israel, in part a mystical adventure. She is grateful that so many who have read Night In Jerusalem have experienced this as well.

Connect with Gaelle:
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