From the window at Christ Church Guest House, I watched the ancient sandstone streets swell at all times of the day and night as pilgrims went about celebrating Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Just like the Jerusalem conjured in my imagination—a city lost in time, an eternal city, untouched by the winds of modernity—my first stayContinue Reading »
Nowadays when we travel, especially internationally, we are warned to be careful of strangers. Beware of pickpockets, chancers and cheats. Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t wear your wallet in your back pocket or carry an open purse. Keep your valuables close to keep them safe. Don’t trust strangers on the street. This is wiseContinue Reading »
You could hear a pin drop as the two judokas stepped onto the mat. Tensions had been mounting for days before the match as Egyptian Islam El Shahaby faced a floodgate of criticism from fans for failing to withdraw from the first round of the heavyweight judo tournament in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro OlympicsContinue Reading »
The early morning stillness broke with the sound of a propane burner flame penetrating the air. A small crew worked skillfully at their task, tugging at the mounds of colorful fabric piled in the field. Gleeful anticipation mounted in our group as we watched the fabric take the shape of a balloon that grew largerContinue Reading »
Despite the global challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Jewish people making aliyah (immigrating) to Israel in 2020 is set to top 50,000—almost double the figure in 2019. That figure is anticipated to double again in 2021, with predictions of 90,000 new immigrants making Israel their new permanent address. Israeli Minister ofContinue Reading »
Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) commemorates the 40 years Israel wandered the desert en route to the Promised Land, living in temporary huts, or sukkot—with nothing but the faithfulness of God to provide for their daily necessities in a barren wilderness. Today, their descendants celebrate Sukkot according to God’s command, “You shall dwell in booths forContinue Reading »
Israel is often called “the Land of the Bible.” The land itself brings the Bible to life. Modern cities and towns have ancient biblical names. The plants, trees, birds and animals are talked about in the Bible. Father Bargil Pixner, a Catholic priest, described the land as the “fifth gospel.” Everywhere you turn in Israel,Continue Reading »
“Anti-Semitism is best understood as a virus. It has no logic. Jews were hated because they were rich and because they were poor; because they were capitalists and because they were communists; because they held tenaciously to an ancient faith and because they were rootless cosmopolitans, believing nothing. Hate needs no logic. It is aContinue Reading »
Thousands of years ago, Abraham was given a divine promise that his descendants—those who came from his son Isaac and eventually were known as Israel—would possess the land of Israel. In more recent history, Abraham’s other descendants—those coming from his son Ishmael and eventually known as Arabs—have laid claim to much of that very sameContinue Reading »
There was a moment in the 20th century that signaled the point at which a people who had gone through the slaughter of the Holocaust without much resistance became a valiant, determined people who fought for their place in the world. The newborn State of Israel had promised to champion every Jewish person no matterContinue Reading »
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