Word of the Week

Ten Thoughts for Thursday

Our days here are full here of new experiences and going from sun up to sun down, so in order to get to bed and have a decent night's sleep, I thought I'd sum up my thoughts this evening-- some serious and others more comical of what life has been like the past couple of days.

1. Bread, bread and more bread-- it is amazing here. Thank goodness we walk everywhere around the city so that I can burn off the extra calories of my carb consumption.

2. When going to Hebron with a mixed group of Rabbis, Imams and Pastors, know that security check points are going to slow you down, especially as you have to explain to all the guards why such folks would be in the same car.

3. Most American Jewish tours of Israel do not go into the West Bank territories, as we did today. When you stay strictly in West Jerusalem and other settlements, you really miss out on the warmth, the joy and the possibilities of friendship with our Palestinians brothers and sisters.

4. When attending a press conference with non-native English speakers and they ask for your web address, be prepared to spell it ahead of time. Otherwise you'll find yourself spelling aloud like you are back in a 5th grade spelling bee with cameras in your face.

5. Always pack toilet paper in your purse (or hang out with a girl who does). . . even in Israel-- what some call the 51st state-- some fine establishments do not supply toilet paper and as you can imagine this is just not a fun place to be.

6. Never, never go into a situation assuming that you know a solution without listening, listening, and listening some more, especially as an American Christian in a war-torn land.  There is great power in listening to OTHERS speech instead of just your own.

7. You never know when a Palestinian tribal leader whom you have a meeting with is going to invite you to lunch and roll out the red carpet of welcome with a feast of food that is usually served at a wedding (as happened to us today in Hebron). Be prepared with gifts of appreciation at all times, just in case - lesson learned, we were not.

8. Until you've visited a refugee camp in the Palestine territory, you don't know the whole story of pain, hurt and poverty caused by the Israeli settlement movement. The tears, the destruction, the hopelessness is nothing like anything I've seen in a long time.  

9.   When you are Bethlehem and your tour guide wants to skip over a stop at the Church of the Nativity, don't let him. It is a holy place not to be missed. Even the orthodox Rabbi agreed, it is a spiritual place where much can be learned about the Mary connection to the narrative of Christ.

10. The truth be told, because of organizations like Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem there are Christians and Muslims working together for peace in the Israeli/ Palestine conflict. Leaders are coming together, sitting at the same table without a preconceived agenda and using shared faith as a way to bring about solutions for peace. The teachings of Jesus, yes, Jesus are used as a common denominator of non-violent resistance for Christians and Muslims a like.