“Two things about my own life became clear: I really did understand both sides, and I didn’t understand them at all.”
(The Christian Science Monitor) The first bureaucratic triumph upon our arrival in Jerusalem came at the Ministry of Interior, when a surly woman peeled off our newly minted residency visas and pressed them into our passports. “We are prisoners of thanks,” my husband and I said, mustering an antiquated Hebrew phrase of gratitude. “Bye,” she replied, with all the feeling of a desert rock.
In August 1994, I was an introspective, brainy 16-year-old, fresh from a summer in Israel with a busload of other 16-year-olds. On my last morning in Jerusalem, I had watched the sun rise: cool breezes over ancient golden stones. I heard church bells ring and the Muslim call to prayer, whispering my own Hebrew dreams into fuzzy pink air. As a Jewish teen who went (reluctantly) to Israel for the Roman ruins but stayed for the prayers, when we chanted under desert stars I was suspended somewhere in between Reform Jewish teenagerhood and a future as a religious studies professor—plus my always evolving, complex relationship with Jewish adulthood. This was when I first encountered Rodger Kamenetz’s The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet’s Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India.
Why is so much energy aimed at protesting Israel's occupation of the West Bank? Such actions are unlikely to move the levers of power.
"While Israel has more interfaith activity pro-rata than anywhere else in the world, all such activity involves a tiny percent of the population."
It’s time for mainline Protestant churches to invite mainstream Jewish organizations to sit down and figure out what we can do together to support the Israel-Palestine peace process.
Isn’t it possible for both Israeli and Palestinian narratives to be true? Dialogue ends when each side demands that the other “let go of past suffering” and “get over it.”
In a booklet titled Zionism Unsettled, a group of Presbyterians has issued a blanket denunciation of Zionism, terming the Jewish quest for a homeland in the ancient land of Israel inherently racist, exclusionary, and devastating for non-Jewish inhabitants. Jewish and Christian groups have rightly criticized the booklet for its sledgehammer one-sided approach, theologically and politically.
The Friends of the Earth Middle East scored a victory this summer when some 9 million cubic meters of fresh water per year started flowing into the Jordan River.