We are now in the middle of Passover week and one frequently hears the question, “And where did you go for the Seder [the special home service on the first night of Passover]?” Answers are varied: “To my family’s home.” “To friends.” “To a hotel in Eilat.”
You may have received a letter from her. Or maybe you met her at a conference or workshop. In one way or another, she has had a part in your connection with Jerusalem Perspective. Her name is Barbara Chambers and she has been our office administrator since the end of 1994.
One of the most amazing and unusual experiences we have living in Israel is to see people who are avowed enemies nationally and historically come together in harmony and peace. A number of Israeli organizations bring together Arabs and Jews who have mutual interests (for example, in the area of the arts). Often harboring strong religious and political differences, these people get to know and understand each other on a personal level.
Thousands of Israelis are inundating telephone aid centers. The reason: the difficult security situation and fear of approaching war with Iraq.
April here in Israel was a month of mixed emotions, a mixture of joy and sorrow. There were two major commemorations: Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 19) and Memorial Day (April 25); and two major joyous celebrations: Pesach, or Passover (April 8-14), and Independence Day (April 26).
A visitor to Israel last night might have been puzzled by seeing the streets heavy with traffic, especially since it was already one o’clock in the morning. The reason was that last night was the first night of the annual week-long Passover festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt thousands of years ago, and people were returning home after taking part in a Passover Seder (the ceremonial meal on the first night of Passover).
Those of us who live in the Middle East often find ourselves in the middle of the conflicts that arise here. I recently attended a conference of Christian Jewish and Arab women held in Jerusalem. The conference was organized by Musalaha, a ministry of reconciliation directed by Salim Munayer.
A few years ago when we were in California for one of David’s seminars, many of my local friends were shocked when I told them I’d ridden the RTD (Rapid Transit District) into Los Angeles. They considered it dangerous to ride the RTD. I hadn’t been at all worried because I take Egged.
The Jericho Road is no more than a thirty-minute drive from where we live. Yet the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) can be as distant as the period of time in which it happened. Such a dramatic experience—passing up someone in dire need—would never happen to us! But how about someone who is not in such dire need? Let’s consider someone who needs just a little help.
The importance of sharing one’s bread with the poor has remained in the Jewish consciousness until today. Many people do not want to throw away bread. Instead of dumping their bread along with the rest of their garbage into the garbage carts parked along the streets, they save the bread in plastic sacks and hang it from the metal projections on the sides of the carts (used to hoist the carts into the garbage trucks). That way, the bread is potentially available to the poor.
I feel I deserve a reward after agonizing in the dentist’s chair, so I arrange to meet my friend Ragna, to celebrate her birthday with a cup of tea. Anyway, it has been ages since I’ve been to the midrahov, the pedestrian mall on Ben Yehudah Street in downtown Jerusalem, with its outdoor cafes and restaurants.
The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah (literally, “the head of the year”), is the first of three major biblical holidays that are rapidly approaching. This year Rosh Hashanah falls on September 11; Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, on September 20; and Sukkot, the week-long Feast of Tabernacles, is from the 25th of September to the 1st of October.