It’s Thursday evening and I’ve just arrived in Jerusalem, along with a few of my JCRC colleagues and a dozen Christian ministers from around Greater Boston. We’ve been in the north - visiting Haifa, the Galilee, and the Golan Heights - since Monday on a JCRC study tour chaired by Reverend Greg Groover and Rabbi Joel Sisenwine.
While we have, for most of my time at JCRC, regularly brought groups of civic leaders to Israel twice a year, this particular study tour has been a long time awaited. Many of our group - some longtime partners of JCRC, some more recent colleagues in interfaith spaces - had planned to come with us in the summer of 2020. And then…
But we’re finally back and I couldn’t be more joyous as we arrive in Jerusalem. For me this is a blessing; to introduce this land and people that I and our community are so connected to, to our friends and partners. And it’s an opportunity to see Israel through the eyes of our partners, to hear their questions, to engage in deep conversations, that enrich our understanding together of this place that matters to all of us in different ways.
I don’t typically reflect on these trips until we are back home. I look forward to sharing some thoughts with you in the coming weeks when I can convey the totality of who we’ve met and what we’ve heard. We’re not even half way through our journey at this point.
But whether it’s meeting visionaries like Mohammad Darwashe of Givat Haviva earlier today, visiting communities like Yemin Orde, which so many of us in Boston are passionate about, bearing witness to our partners’ baptisms in the Jordan River, or having serious geopolitical conversations standing on Mount Bental,* I, and our relationships, are already being enriched by a dialogue that hasn’t been possible in this way over these difficult two years.
I am looking forward to the rest of our journey with gratitude to our Christian leaders who accepted our invitation, and to those in our community who help make this work possible.
*P.S. Also, I’ve already introduced them to Kippah Man in Jerusalem, amongst many personal favorite places to go and people to talk to here.