Reflections

Hebron: stepping into the conflict

Hebron: stepping into the conflict

The West Bank city of Hebron is as fraught with conflict as it is holy. Palestinians and Jews barely coexist in the divided city. This is Chiara Sottile’s radio reflection reported from Hebron.


In a Bedouin shop, a Mormon’s faith is strengthened

In a Bedouin shop, a Mormon's faith is strengthened

While in the Holy Land, our class visited many places sacred to my faith, but it was being called a “bad Mormon” in a Bedouin shop that echoed an elder’s statement.


An outsider feels Purim’s embrace

It was my last day in Israel, and I was surrounded by dozens of strangers in a large home in this seaside town, a two-hour drive from Jerusalem. I had come to interview a source, Mali Aharon, at her apartment, but she had more festive plans—a Purim feast with her family.


Crossing concrete borders

Crossing concrete borders

Security fences are security fences, whether in Tijuana or Bethlehem. Benjamin Preston reminisces about crossing Israel’s security barrier into the West Bank.


Progressive but Muslim nonetheless

Progressive but Muslim nonetheless

Zohreen Adamjee reflects on her trip to the Holy Land. Learning a little about about Judaism on the trip led her to re-define her identity as a Muslim.


Caged!

Caged!

Will it never happen, I wondered, that a Muslim who regularly prays at the Ibrahami Mosque truly looks in the face of a Jew who regularly prays at Tomb of the Patriarchs (the two names for the same holy place on that street)? Will they not acknowledge each other’s presence? Will they not exchange greetings? The wall dividing them is not high enough to hide their faces from each other. And yet, something within me answered “no.”


Questions and convictions

Questions and convictions

“The more you know, the less you know,” said one of my classmates at the end of our 10-day trip to Israel and the West Bank. For some reason, I had expected that I would have cracked the Israeli-Palestinian puzzle at the end of my trip. Instead, I left with more questions than answers. Along with a myriad of questions, I also left with a sense of conviction in myself.


The sacred layers of holy cities

The sacred layers of holy cities

As I walked through the winding alleyways of the Old City, shaded by tall walls of Jerusalem stone, I experienced a sharp twinge of déjà vu. It was my first time in Israel, yet something about the environment—the centuries-old architecture, the nourishing, Mediterranean sunlight—recalled an earlier time in my life.


Lesson in the ashes of books burned

Lesson in the ashes of books burned

I’ve always been attracted to big moments in history. When I took a closer look at the burning book display at Yad Vashem, the immensity of the Holocaust manifested itself in an entirely new way. The quote above those books: “Where they burn books, they will end up burning human beings,” will stay with me forever.


Early morning at the Holy Sepulchre

Early morning at the Holy Sepulchre

Like many other sites in the Holy Land, the Church of the Holy Sepluchre is a tourist destination in daylight. But come early morning, it’s a tranquil place for pilgrimage, and tells the story of how Christianity began nearly 2,000 years ago.


In search of the Christian Remnant

In search of the Christian Remnant

Like for many other religious people, and in my case a born-again Christian, it has always been a dream to visit the birthplace of my faith. But I never thought that day would come.


At al-Aqsa, the least expected sermon

At al-Aqsa, the least expected sermon

Reporter Zahra Raja reflects on hearing her first sermon at the al-Aqsa mosque; hearing a Friday sermon at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque for the first time is a shock for anyone who’s ever listened to preachers in the Arab world.