Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Midterm Reflections

Midterm Orientation Week, June 3-7, 2013 

From the midterm orientation week, I return with renewed energy.  I return to continue the struggle for JUST peace.  I have new insights from the Israeli people I met some who are going counter to the prevailing culture to work for justice. 

I pondered the worldviews of the settler that talked with us, Bob Lang.  He invited us into his home.  He is proud of his settlement community.  His home was beautiful, lovely flowers and yards in the community.  He explained that the homes sell for $250,000 and up.  Pride of home, family, and community were evident, unacknowledged was the fact that all was illegal under international law.

It was hard for me to listen to Israelis talk about their prosperity.  They have only a five percent unemployment rate.  In the United States, our unemployment rate is much higher.  Our economy is declining.  I am wondering why my country sends five billion dollars yearly into Israel’s prosperous economy, while many in our economy are struggling and are having our government’s help taken from their social programs because of a supposed lack of funds. 

I am also reflecting on the organizations in the United States that are collecting tax free funds to fund activities that are illegal under international law and would be crimes if they were done in the United States.  Some of these are Israeli organizations and some are U.S. churches. 
Perhaps if this tax money went to the United States treasury, funds would be available for our social programs.

For the first time I went to a worship service in a synagogue.  The person who gave the update was progressive in her thinking, she told us this synagogue is to the “left” of all other congregations in Jerusalem.  After the service, we, in groups of two, went to homes for a Shabbat Dinner. 
Depending on which side of the street the families lived, we were having dinner in a settlement or else in the Israeli part of Jerusalem. 
It was refreshing to hear, in my host’s home, how the members of the family and the others who joined in the dinner are working for peace.  They seemed clearly aware of the plight of the Palestinians and were doing actions to change the status quo. 
Others did not have such progressive families with which to interact.

In all this, my personal faith grows.  It grows because people are praying form me and the situation here in Palestine.   In addition, I am encouraged as I reread the Kairos Palestine document.  

“In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope.  We believe in God, good and just.  We believe that God’s goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that persists in our land.  We will see here ‘a new land’ and ‘a new human being,’ capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her brothers and sisters.

Join with Me in this Cry of Hope.

Believe in God, Good and Just!