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The Things That Bring Us Together

One week in Israel. We have seen and done so much, it’s almost impossible to put it into perspective. From the packed streets of Jerusalem and Bethlehem to sleeping in a Bedouin village to shopping in street markets for local spices to the grandeur of Masada to a glimpse of life on a kibbutz – this is definitely a country of diversity and variety. 

Today’s bundle of experiences was particularly interesting and rich. After visiting many Christian, Jewish and Moslem sacred spaces, we began this morning in Haifa at the famed Baha’i Gardens, and I agree with our excellent guide David that it may just be the eighth wonder of the world. A gorgeous, symmetrical and inspiring place of peace and contemplation; it reminded me just how many religions consider this land holy.

We had a wonderful afternoon at Caesarea, one of Israel’s most magnificent archaeological sites. We wandered the ruins of a Roman-style theater, amphitheater, aqueducts and bathhouse, with pieces of the original walls, structures, Italian tiles and mosaics intact, backed by sweeping views of the Mediterranean – what a sense of history! And what a sense of waste – centuries of fighting and land changing hands, millennia of building and tearing down and building again. The Israelis today are so conscious of sustainability, of conserving resources; maybe all the eons of waste have provided an object lesson. 

I’m taken by the beauty of it all, the juxtaposition of old and new, the strong sense of place and the feeling that we all have roots here. In a country of such conflict and controversy, it’s so important to remember the things that bring us together.      

Judi Feniger
Executive Director, Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage
Member, NDC Abrahamic Leadership Council
NDC Alumna

The NDC travelers spent a night in a Bedouin village.
The NDC travelers spent a night in a Bedouin village.