In January of 1990 I had the privilege of going on a tour of Israel conducted by an outstanding Orthodox guide named Joe, who was so completely well-versed in history and biblical understanding that archaeological sites acquired lively, humanized detail under his well-studied knowledge of what we believe took place there.

Though he was conducting about a dozen clergy, he was able to draw comparison between traditions which were tied to ha aretz (הארץ), to the land, helping us see the visceral, physical connections we’d only tried to understand through having read the ancient texts and stories.

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 ‘Western Wall Shacharit’

watercolour on Arches Hot Press 140# Paper, 10″ x 15″, sold

The Western Wall is almost certainly the most revered of all sites in Israel, as it physically connects worshipers to those before them who also had to struggle to build a homeland–who also had to appeal to that higher power to protect and defend them.

I felt privileged to have been able to see Israel at a time when the intifada was at a standstill and veritably every location in the country was accessible and security was more relaxed.  We could travel the Golan Heights as well as the West Bank, stand at the Lebanese border and visit the historic cities and towns throughout the land.

…this is a repost from an entry several years ago

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Western Wall Memories

February 17, 2012

In 1989 I had the opportunity to visit Israel.  At the time I was quite involved in what was called “Jewish Christian Dialogue” in Montreal, whereby Clergy, Rabbis, and others gathered monthly to converse and hold meaningful discussions in an attempt to weave deeper strands through our historically-shared tapestry in order to examine the tears of the past while aiming to strengthen the cloth as a whole.  It was an enriching experience, and  provided the means for me to go to this Land of Lands.

It was a privileged time in the sense that the current unrest had not yet erupted, and we travelled freely everywhere from Palestine to Lebanon to Egypt to Jordon to the Sea without restriction or any impediment.  And so this small country with it’s geographical extremes (cold and snowing up in Jerusalem, hot and dry at the Dead Sea–the lowest point on earth–a bus ride later) and historical and cultural richness kept my eyes wide and in constant amazement the entire stay.

The following painting, “Morning Prayer” is a compilation of  my memory of having been at the Western Wall of the Old Temple in the Old City.  This is, without question, the holiest and most memorable of places where both celebrations and anguished appeals are vaulted vertically in a spiritual, hallowed bond as past and present combine.

 

"Morning Prayer"

 

These days I particularly enjoy visiting ‘ShimonZ’ at ‘The Human Picture’, http://thehumanpicture.wordpress.com.

 

 

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