I think the substance of the second half of your second sentence might work better as your first sentence and possibly become your hook:
Jerusalem was not the pleasant place it once was. [The reader will now ask why?]
You can consolidate many of your opening sentences into less, thereby making room for more information in your first 13 lines.
For example I took:
"Jeremiah stood, staring out the window before him." and "The street beside his small house was bustling with activity." and " A stream of people, larger than usual, flowed in both ways down the broad street." (a total of 34 words)
and edited it as:
Jeremiah stood at his window and stared at the stream of people as it passed by his house. The broad street was unusually busy. (24 words)
I don't pretend to be able to tell your story better than you, but only to show that this gives you at least one more sentence in your first 13. I find it useful to shrink, consolidate, and shorten as much of my opening as possible. The industry today demands a host of information on the first page more so than it ever has before. I'm learning this from being here at Hatrack (and am very grateful to Hatrack for the valuable lesson BTW).
Important crit: A stream of people cannot flow in both directions. Either use a different description or change it to one direction or the other.
The following is a list of words I think your opening can do without and still work:
1) "house" versus "small house"
2) choose between "torn" and "drab", but I wouldn't use both. As it reads, torn would probably be the better word to keep since you mention "tears" later.
3) leave out "on their bodies", "hung loosely should suffice
4) "greedier" should probably read "more greedy", but to me it is cliche and doesn't really say a whole lot anyway
5) "more sadly common" just doesn't work for me at all. I tried reading it as "sadly more common," but that still read awkwardly. Look for another phrase entirely.
I get lost in your last sentences completely, and would not read on from there, however with better structure and more storytelling at the beginning I might. I wouldn't start a sentence with "although", "though" yes, but not "although", but that's me.
Hope I've helped. Keep writing.