I'm back in Jersalem safe and sound from free travel. Top five most memorable moments of spring break include...
5-Staying with a Jewish family in a settlement
4-Renting and driving a car in Israel, enough said.
3-Swimming by a huge waterfall deep in a valley
2-Sharing life with Ruthie, Becca, and Janelle, and playing foolish amounts of cardgames
1-Snorkeling in the Red Sea!
Right now we're staying at Ecce Homo, a convent within the old city. We live about 100 ft from the Dome of the Rock. So, we're staying in a Christian convent in the Muslim quarter and learning about Judaism, hmm...
The more I learn the less I know! Each question that professors, historians, rabbis, and the like attempt to answer simply raise several more questions. There's so much to learn here, unending amounts of information regarding history, land, modern conflict, and religion. Beyond the education I'm getting just from being a cross cultural "local" our lectures this week have been ridiculously interesting. We're talking about Jewish identity and roots. We visited the Israeli Holocaust museum which was definitely an experience going through it alongside Jews. We've also been taking a hard look at the old testament attempting to sift through it with a Jewish lens and then seeing it with the perspective of Christ. Last night we explored the underground walls of the temple mount and talked about the importance of the temple within Jewish life.
Because our faith is derived out of Jewish traditions and identity I naturally have so many questions. My Dad said to me once - life has a lot of grey, our role is to sift through it the best we can. Whether all my questions are answered or not I've fallen in love with the rabbonic way of teaching. All the rabbis we have met this week engage us in the lesson by asking us questions and forcing us to think and react to knowledge. In contrast to being spoon fed and later regurgitating we are having conversations and internalizing what we see and hear. We're learning a small bit of Hebrew - one of my favorite words so far is "havruta" more or less it means studying in pairs (the root "haver" being friend). The way the rabbi explained it was that it's the opposite of a library. When Jews study scripture they get together in pairs and question/argue/challenge the text and each other. It gets loud and heated and interesting. Very fun. I hope I keep questioning, not that I will live a lifetime in doubt, but shoot I have a lot to learn.
After Monday we're headed back to the Galilee region to work on a Kibbutz. I'm hoping to get the job of milking cows.