Monday, May 30, 2011


Tamara and I walked through the checkpoint later than usual recently, at the same time as the evening call to prayer.

As we walked through the area between the gates, a man faced Mecca. Others ran to join him and they bowed, perfectly aligned and moving in sync, prostrating in prayer. I was struck by the beauty of the togetherness of it -- likely men who do not know each other joined in their common faith and brought together in a ritual demonstration of submission to God.

As I watched them, humble in posture and bold in declaration of their faith in the middle of the checkpoint, I was a little bit jealous. How often do I spontaneously see a brother or sister and pray with them, especially in public? In fact, how many brothers and sisters do I walk by without ever knowing we have the most important thing in common?

In my church tradition, we seem to equate ritual with perfunctory behavior -- assuming that people are forced into the effort and are going through meaningless motions.

We will never be saved through ritual behavior. But I don't think our assumption is true.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Last week I had the opportunity to go to the UK for a conference we (at Musalaha) organized. The conference was to share about what God is doing in reconciliation here in the holy land, and elsewhere in the world. I hope someday we can do a similar conference in the States!

Here are a few pictures:

Me with my friend and coworker, Ronit, in the beautiful Coventry Cathedral, which we called  home for three days.
The crowd.
With Diana and Ronit, two Messianic Jewish Israelis who shared their testimonies at the conference. It was fun to have the English and Middle Eastern worlds I know collide!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I just spent my Saturday morning in Bethlehem relaxing and catching up on reading blogs.

It occurred to me that the blogs I follow are about as different from mine as they can be. They are almost all blogs of superb mothers, homemakers, and hostesses. They write about crafting and decorating and babies and photography. Many are written by friends of mine, several are from women who are writers whose blogs I have happened upon over time.

I have always loved domestics, and my desire to be a homemaker is as strong as (sometimes stronger) than my desire to be a traveler or an adventurer. I know that homemaking and adventuring certainly aren't mutually exclusive. But the way I am at it now, in Palestine in a great house but without an oven or other essentials for parties, and staying just long enough to make domestic effort seem to not be worth it, they are.

Travel blogger spends her Saturday mornings reading domestic American blogs from the conflict-ridden heart of the Middle East. I admit it:-).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Youth Desert Encounter

During the week before Easter, I had the opportunity to go on one of Musalaha's Youth Desert Encounters. Israeli Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christian youth go into the desert for several days for an experience they will likely never forget. Here are some pictures from the journey:
The men proudly joined forces to move a very heavy table.

The Israeli girls talked on one side of the camp...

As the Palestinian girls hung out at the table with Judy. It made it difficult that several of them didn't speak much English.

Our hike ended right near the Red Sea, and we had the opportunity to visit Eilat briefly. 

At the camp in the desert, a scenic location for our meetings.

I love camels.

An Israeli girl and one of the Palestinian guys. One of Musalaha's ways of encouraging relationship-building is to put the kids together in uncomfortable situations, so they learn to work together:-). This is fun AND uncomfortable!

I finally rode a camel. So much fun!

I admit, the scenery made me feel a little bit like I was in a movie.

Everyone hanging out in the desert.

By the end of the trip the kids had built some good friendships. Here is a Palestinian girl with two of the Israelis.
I loved seeing the kids get to know each other during the trip, and am hopeful that these experiences will influence their perspectives for years to come.