Daily Archives: February 23, 2015

The smallest of worlds… and a story of good work coming from the Holy Land

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Tonight I had the opportunity to experience a different effort aimed at reconciliation in Israel, one which contradicts common images.   For all its security, the Israelis have a long tradition of providing medical care to children in need, regardless of where they are from.  Borders don’t matter.   In Tel Aviv, there is a hospital, called Save a Child’s Heart, that is world famous for its congenital heart care.   In Jerusalem, there is a christian organization called Shevet Achim, that provides a shelter for families with children needing care at Save a Child’s Heart.   They began by working in Gaza, and the West Bank, but now provide a place for families from Syria, Jordan, and Iraq (maybe others).   The organization is kind of like a Ronald McDonald’s House, but on a global scale.   What makes the group unique, is that it is a group of staff and volunteers who live together in community.   They share a home on “Street of the Prophets” (Ha Nevim Street), and have a few apartments down the road from it.  It is a small old building.   People come and work for a week, or a few days, or a few months, or longer.   Tonight there were people from Scotland, Denmark, Germany, the US, and elsewhere.   There was also a father of one of the children, a Kurd, from Northern Iraq at dinner at the end.

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They start each day with worship together.  They are non-denominational, and seek to build christian community in the purest sense.  They don’t fight or argue about doctrine, and when someone comes who wants to argue about theology, they usually don’t stay.  They actually spend 2 hours each morning in worship and scripture study, then go do the work of the day.  They eat their meals together (although some of them are off-site), and eat dinner in community.

 

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Old City, Hand in Hand School, and Yad Vashem

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Today has been a welcome break from the cognitive dissonance created yesterday by visiting Hebron. But it wasn’t a quiet or down day by any means. I woke early and by 8am Roger and I were at the Old City, where he headed to the Damascus Gate to pick up a bus to the Allenby Bridge and Jordan. I have truly enjoyed sharing the time in Israel with him. We were constant companions and together were able to really see how Friends Forever works on the ground in Israel, and we had shared experiences in peace-making that are unlike any other.

So, by 8am, I was on my own. 10 days in Israel and I am comfortable enough that this was not a big deal. I immediately headed to the Jaffa Gate, and into the Old City. My goal was the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount. Non-Muslims can go up to the Temple Mount only 3 hours each morning. So, I got there, and the line was probably 45 minutes long just to clear security.   I decided to walk out the south gate – the Dung Gate – and explored the City of David, the Archeological Park, directly to the south of the Old city.   I was there early enough that I think I managed to avoid shelling out a few shekels. That is ok.   Then I went back to the Old City, and by this time the line was shorter, and I went up to the Temple Mount. It was pretty cool. I would love to see it during afternoon prayer, but that isn’t going to happen.

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