The final day of our Israel trip took us to Mount Precipice in Nazareth, a flourishing community of Israeli Arab Muslims and Christians. From the top of the cliff we enjoyed the spectacular view of the Jezreel Valley and Mount Tabor. Yes, everywhere you step here, a biblical story pops up.
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
From Nazareth we drove to Netanya for a short, but most interesting meeting with Shachar Zahavi, Founding Director of IsraAID, a non-profit NGO working in disaster relief and sustainable development. Check them out, they're doing great work from what I've heard and seen so far.
From Netanya it was just a short trip to Tel Aviv where I ate the best falafel ever for lunch, before we went to the Yitzhak Rabin Center, both a memorial to this "soldier in the army of peace" and a Israeli history museum. We took time to tour the exhibit and then had our closing session in one of the class rooms there. We were asked to name what we were bringing back to Nashville from this trip. Each of us had been asked to take two "boxes" with us when we first started our journey, one with a gift just for us personally, the other with a gift for our respective communities. I'll talk about these when I get home. I want to close this post with a poem by Yehuda Amichai, written in stone at the end of the exhibit hall at the Rabin Center, in Hebrew, Arabic, and English:
The Place Where We Are Right
by Yehuda Amichai
From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the Spring.
The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.
But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plough.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.
Here's to the whisper of hope. L'chaim.