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Shabbat Shalom

This morning, after wishing my fellow NDC travelers shabbat shalom, we entered the Old City of Jerusalem at about 9:30 a.m. through the Jaffa Gate. How thrilling to enter the gates of the holy city so often referenced in the Bible! The city gates are connected by the walls that surround Jerusalem. We walked the tops of those walls mindful of the fact that Roman soldiers, crusaders, or Israeli resistance fighters had kept night watch on those walls. The strong winds created a bit of a challenge for us. This was truly a pilgrimage.

The ancient walls of the Old City.
The ancient walls of the Old City.

In seven and a half hours, we smelled, tasted, observed and heard multiple religious and cultural traditions. We recapped 4,000 years of Israeli life, exile, warfare and triumph in the Tower of David Museum. From that site, we walked to the upper room where Jesus probably celebrated the Last Supper. Immediately after lunch, we heard over the PA the Muslim call to prayer echoing throughout the city. From 3 to 5 p.m., we walked the Via Dolorosa, the journey of Christ to His crucifixion and burial. It was quite an emotionally charged day sharing the history, beliefs, rituals and comfort foods of the Israeli people. I must tell you, the breads are varied and delicious. The sandwiches, falafel and pastries are awesome. Good thing we walk these culinary delights off! The day ended with a beautiful Saturday night liturgy celebrated in Arabic at the Tantur Ecumenical Center just outside the Old City walls. The Ecumenical Center was of particular interest to us given our Abrahamic Center's mission. Our group was welcomed into this Palestinian Catholic community; we were asked to repeat the second reading and the Gospel in English so that we could be integrated into the liturgy. Instead of coffee and doughnuts, we were invited to wonderful pastries and coffee after Mass. So many blessings today! Sister Carol Ziegler, SND, Ph.D.