As I wrap up my time here in the Holy Land and we pass the baton on to the next team of Ecumenical Accompaniers, I have been looking to find the hope in what seems to be a hopeless situation. I have found that hope embedded in many amazing people I have meet here. I have introduced many of them to you over the course of the last three months. I have met many wonderful people here and made many new friends that will live in my heart for the rest of my life. I have also had the opportunity to experiences things that I never dreamed I would do. This past week’s celebrations of both the Christian Holy Week and the Jewish Passover with some of those new friends are among the highlights of my time here.
A week ago Sunday I joined many thousands of people from around the world in a procession down the Mt of Olives with palms waving to commemorate the triumphant arrival of Jesus in this city. The mood would soon change from joyous to somber as this outsider was challenged by Jerusalem’s establishment but like the first Palm Sunday this day was festive and joyous.
This year in a very unusual occurrence the Jewish Passover landed on the Thursday of the Holy Week, the day Christian tradition marks as the day of the last supper which was believed to be in celebration of the Passover. Our team was invited to join our friends Gila and Judy at their beach home in Nahariya on the Mediterranean coast near the border with Lebanon for two days to celebrate the beginning of the Passover which starts with the Seder meal. I introduced you to Gila in the Article titled Woman in Black. Over twenty years ago she and some of her friends began standing on a street corner dressed in black holding protest signs opposing the occupation of the Palestinian people. They are still there every Friday. We learned a great deal about this Jewish tradition which commemorates the freedom of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. Most importantly we deepened our friendship with some really great people.