“Come, let us sing! Sing Halleluyah! so the students from Sweden, Holland and Italy sang in three-part harmony before my public lecture Monday evening, May 9, in the courtyard of the Swedish Theological Institute on the Street of the Prophets in Jerusalem. They are brave souls, these students, for they had only a very short time to learn the song but they were so eager to do it and it was a great way to begin the evening. So much seen and done in such a short span of time, any reflections worth reading may be a long time in coming, and perhaps they will not come at all. For what is one to say upon going through the checkpoint in Bethlehem, listening to our Palestinian hostess, on walking the steps to Helena’s Cistern, or going through Yad Vashem much too fast, without being able to sit and listen to the voices of survivors, or listening to a young Israeli woman describe the tensions in her own family surrounding the events happening in Israel.
So I walk the streets every day and marvel at this tempestuous city, the sounds of its many languages, the sights of its many faces, and take pictures of the glorious plants that flower everywhere, out of walls, on sidewalks, in parks and on monuments. How can one not have hope in the midst of so much beauty.
I feel privileged to be here, grateful to all my hosts: Jesper Svartvik who made it all possible, Shabbat dinner hosts Judith and Jeff Green and Ophir and Sara Yarden, to the wonderful students who took part in the course with energy and zest and our co-teacher Sören Dalevi. To the staff at STI: Maria, Hiba, Israel, David and Carl.
HAVA NASHIRA! COME, LET US SING!