At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

In early March 1986, my Jewish boyfriend and I traveled from Germany to Israel together, as he wanted to show me the country that meant so much to him. For two weeks, we drove a Renault 4 from Tel Aviv up to the Golan Heights, then all the way down to Eilat, and back up to Jerusalem.

Two years earlier, just a year before he died, my German father had traveled to Israel on a weeklong trip that our priest had organized. My mother had not been interested in such a pilgrimage, so my dad had taken his mother along. A pilgrimage was an unusual thing for both of them, since they were not religious Catholics, but Israel they wanted to see. In a way I was on my own pilgrimage now, traveling the Holy Land with images of my father in my mind: posing in front of the Baha’i Temple in Haifa, standing on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, rubbing Dead Sea mud on his body.

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Posted by Annette Gendler in Essays

Where Aramaic isn’t dead

This is Mukhtar Sami Barsoum, and he represents the Syrian Christian orthodox community in the Old City.

He is also a tailor.

His name is Aramaic. It means “son of The Fast.”

“Bar — like Bar Mitzvah” he tells me. “Same thing. Son of.”

If you ask him about identity he will tell you this:

“My father was Ottoman Turkish, so I am Turkish. I was born under the British mandate and my birth certificate has Queen Elizabeth’s fathers name on it. In 1948 when I was 13, I became a citizen of Jordan. I still have my passport. In 1967, I became an Israeli resident. They won’t give me citizenship but I am a resident. And I am a Palestinian.”

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Posted by Sarah Tuttle-Singer in Videos

Skating side by side

On Holy Thursday, Arab and Jewish children skated side by side in Gan Hapaamon, and the church bells rang in the distance.

Posted by Sharon Altshul in Images