|The New Egalitarian Section of The Kotel |
just as Shabbat was about to start.
Shabbat in Jerusalem is always wonderful but this was truly an amazing Shabbat… Once we got back to The Hotel from The Kotel we got ready for a Shabbat Dinner hosted by The Jewish Federation of Las Vegas. I must say that traveling on this mission with Elliot Karp (CEO of The Las Vegas Jewish Federation) has been a fantastic experience. The Shabbat Dinner in itself was a reflection of all the hard work Elliot put into making sure that this mission got off the ground. Elliot has been a steadfast advocate of deepening The Jewish Community’s relationship with CUFI (Christians United for Israel) even when at times he has been severely criticized by Rabbis who espouse fundamentalist views within our own community.
During Shabbat Dinner, Cantor Mariana Gindlin from Sinai Temple in Las Vegas led us all in song to welcome Shabbat. I recited Kiddush and Rabbi Tecktiel shared with the group the meaning of various Shabbat rituals that we would be observing during dinner.
The food was out of this world… For a change it was not only me having a religious experience with the meal but all of our Christian friends I believe did so too! Once we got settled I delivered a D’var Torah trying to understand the difference between the Christian concept of salvation and The Jewish idea that all Jews and The Righteous Among The Nations have a place in the world to come.
When I first agreed to participate in this mission I did so thinking that it be a great way to support Israel. Every day it becomes even more evident that beyond supporting Israel we have made some really nice friendships with people that are wonderful. I have to say that I was very surprised to find out that we have many things in common with The Pastors that came on this trip. Yes, there are theological differences and of course there are differences in our political beliefs. I chose to concentrate in the things that united us rather than the things that separate us. I think that in the months and years ahead I will look back at this trip as a turning point in the way in which I view Evangelical Christianity.
Let me give you an example of how personal and close it gets. The UPS man (Glenn) who delivers packages to Temple Beth Sholom day in and day out attends church with a Pastor who is in this mission with me. Pastor Joshua Teis, Pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church of Las Vegas. Who is by the way, not only a super nice guy but also a wonderful human being.
Shabbat Morning we left for Synagogue while the Pastors took in the sights of The Dead sea and Masada. We walked all the way to Baka, a wonderfully interesting neighborhood in Jerusalem looking for a Minyan led by my colleague Tamar Eldad Appelbaum. Unfortunately we did not find the Minyan and went over to pray at Kol HaNeshama, a reform Synagogue led by Rabbi Levy Kelman whose father was one of the past Rabbinic Legends of The Rabbinical Assembly. While at Kol HaNeshama we had the true and amazing privilege of listening to s Drashah (A talk) by Rabbi Michael Marmur who is the “Chief Academic Officer” for The Hebrew Union College.
We then went back to The Hotel and rested until Shabbat ended.