From Olympia to Israel,
and blogging it

Youth from the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia are touring Israel along with their bishop, Greg Rickel – and everyone’s blogging about it.

Rickel’s travelogue for July 15 notes a moment spent at the Wailing Wall:

I touched it, and prayed alongside the many Jews present. What a fantastic and powerful scene, prayers of lamentation, right alongside the joy of bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah, weddings, with the separate sides for women and men, with a fence to protect all of that, women standing on benches and chairs in order to see over the fence and to celebrate in such events with the men of their lives. It is all such a place of division and boundaries, a place where our differences are blocked by inches, and security is a worry at all times. It is a place of great contradictions, and yet a holy place; wonderous in how it all ties together with a history as beleaguered as any, and how seemingly it has stayed the same over thousands of years. Right here, on this ground in which we walked, stands the very epicenter of the three Abrahamic faiths, all taking different paths, living side by side, and suspicious at the same time.

Now put that into conversation with this entry from the youth side, and, importantly for this moment, the female side:

We then went to the Western Wall and I got to put a prayer in the wall. It was super crowded because the woman’s side is so small. Women were rocking back and forth and praying which was a different experience as well. Theres a row of chairs next to the barrier between the men and womens side and I got to watch a bar mitzah. The transition from a boy to a man according to the Jewish religion was very interesting to watch.

We have to imagine there are so many moments like these happening right now between youth and their sponsors this summer – in church camps, on service and mission trips, on pilgrimages to learn about a people or a culture, or just gathering together close to home for prayer and mutual support. Let us know.

Past Posts