I returned to Israel in the summer of 1967 to be with my family and to mourn the death of my cousin Ronnie in the Six-Day War. I visited the Old City, a place I had known and loved as a child, a place I had been unable to enter for 19 years. When I reached the Street of the Jews—along which the Cardo would one day be discovered—I looked at the ruins of the Hurva Synagogue, where my great-grandfather used to pray, and I wept. I wept for Ronnie, for all the fallen soldiers, for the futility of war. All around me the Jewish Quarter was silent, deserted. The first verse of Lamentations came to mind: “How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people.”

More than two decades later, when I was interviewing Professor Avigad for this article, the Jewish Quarter teemed with tourists speaking Dutch, German, French, Russian, even Japanese. There were Israeli soldiers on educational outings and Orthodox Jewish matrons grocery-shopping with their many children.

When Avigad and I left the Herodian Quarter, we encountered high school students sprawled on steps, licking ice cream. “Where are you from?” Avigad wanted to know. “From South Africa. There are 108 of us, here to study for three months.”

As we walked along the Street of the Jews, parallel to the Cardo, enjoying the aroma of fresh bread, I told Professor Avigad of my great-grandmother, Kreshe Berman, who established a bakery on this street in 1876.

We stopped at an Arab bakery. Avigad treated me to a warm ka’ak, a soft bun with a hole in the middle, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Then we continued walking, looking at the antiquities.