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What Does Princeton Have to Do with Jerusalem?

May 15, 2009


Friday, 9:28 am local time


This is our last morning in the West Bank. Last night, we had the privilege of viewing, from a distance, the celebrations of a Palestinian wedding. At least, I assume they were Palestinian; Arabic-speaking, definitely, but to have a grand wedding and even bigger reception at the Intercontinental Hotel? I have a hard time believing that those on this side of the wall could find the resources to pull it off. It was exciting, though, very high-energy, a lot of people, a disco dance floor. Today, though, we make our way to Jerusalem; by tonight, we will be having Shabbat dinner with some Israeli Jews. Different worlds, only a few kilometers apart.

I must admit to a little trepidation as I contemplate spending the rest of our time here in Jerusalem. Jordan pointed out a few nights back that we’ve been spiraling around Jerusalem, always mindful of its location but never actually seeing it. Now, though, it’s time to stop dancing around it. We’ve read the books, we’ve read the Bible, but if our experience thus far is any indication, the city will be like nothing we’ve expected. This is a place that has been contested for millenia; who are we to be when we’re there? Tourists? Fact-finders? The problems facing the city, the history that surrounds it, are all too much to take in.

This is not a pilgrimage, we’ve been clear about that from the beginning, and yet, it is impossible to separate the city from the religions surrounding it. The Pope finishes up his Israel-Palestine trip today by praying at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for Christian unity, which is either cosmically ironic or a stroke of genius. I’ll post more about the history of that church later, but suffice it to say…interesting.

Today is Day 7. We leave a week from yesterday; we’re halfway through. I will write later about our experiences yesterday at the Jordan River and in Tzippori, though you can view the pictures now. I will continue to write about our experiences here as the facilities in Jerusalem let me. I ask that you continue to pray for us as we move into the second half of the trip, as we journey to what might be the single most important city in the Middle Easy.

To Jerusalem, then.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Margo Dudak permalink
    May 15, 2009 1:05 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the blogs; I especially took interest in Gordon’s selection from Genesis. What a great choice for this time and place.
    The photos are an added treat. The information about tels was also interesting. I almost felt as though I were there. You all are very fortunate to have such a wonderful trip. I’ll look forward to reading more next week.
    Blessings for safe travel home.

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