Monday 11 October 2010

Joy and Jerusalem

Leaving Ramallah by way of a jolly but rather solitary red volkswagen beetle, we cut and run to avoid the major queues at major checkpoints, taking an easy rural route through the wall, manned by nice cheerful kids with who waved their ouzis in a mostly welcoming way, and seemed as mellow as you can be when your office window is riddled with bullet holes. This brought us down to the Holy City of Peace, and the Western Wall, where Mondays are a good day for Bar Mitzvahs. This has been amazingly developed in the past 27 years.

For me the highlight was to be swept up in the song and dance around one boy’s Bar MItzvah. With joy and freedom in the air, a very proud family seemed relaxed and generous about sweeping up a C of E bishop into the fun. Raucous Hebrew singing and dancing is a great stress reliever and could, perhaps, be turned into a marketable fitness concept like step aerobics. Video snip of the moment of reading the scroll follows — Vicars who experience anxiety about people taking photos during family ceremonies take note — Never in the field of human initiation has a lens that large been that close to a small boy.

Afterwards, back in the non gender-segregated section at the back, we swept together a circle of people near this holiest of sites for Jews, and prayed for peace and justice for all — Shalom and Tsedeq — simply, holding hands, in French, English and Hebrew. Why not?

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