These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on July 23, 2014 by Jenn Mager

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I am an incoming Pardes student, spending this summer in 
Israel, and blogging about my experiences. This post is from 
my blog:

m4g3rBy the end of last week, I needed a separation from “Breaking News”, Facebook, and political discussion. I’ve seen too many photos and cartoons expressing anger, violence, revenge, hatred, a side of human nature that I don’t want to see. Images that stay with me in an upsetting way.

Jerusalem is a holy city, steeped in history and spirituality, a strong sense of kavanah. There are tourists and pilgrims here from all over the world with so many forms of religious observance. It’s the heart of the religious world. It’s been five weeks since I arrived here. Despite everything that is happening in Israel right now, I can’t think of a time in my life when I have been happier. I feel more alive here – there’s a vitality, an energy to the city that I love.

As the ground operation in Gaza continues, my prayers for peace and for the State of Israel take on new layers of meaning for me.

People want to know how I feel about what is happening. It’s horrible to hear about violence and about the people that are hurt and killed. The conflict is a far more complex issue than what is portrayed in the news. I need to read and learn a lot more before developing an intelligent position. There isn’t a simple answer.

I notice myself finding great joy in the simple pleasures of life and not wanting to think about politics all the time. Yet it is an inseparable element of daily life here.

After fireworks went off until late into the night, I woke up this morning at 4:00am to the cannon boom sound that goes off during Ramadan, followed by what must be a call to prayer from a loud speaker.

I read this evening that the FAA suspended all U.S. flights to and from Ben Gurion airport for 24 hours after a rocket fell in an area near the airport. European and other airlines have suspended flights as well.

I have a strong desire to say thank you to the soldiers that I see on the street, thank you for keeping us safe. A friend of mine from school has made Aliyah (become an Israeli citizen) and volunteered for military service. I respect her courage and pray that she will be safe.