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Home » 3 Faiths Together

JERUSALEM — A SPECIAL MOMENT

8 May 2018 No Comment

JERUSALEM — A SPECIAL MOMENT
Rabbi Michael Whitman

The city of Jerusalem is holy to all three major religions, and to countless others. At the same time, Jerusalem is saturated with political controversy. Without minimizing the importance of those discussions, Jerusalem is also saturated with holiness and beauty – from the dramatic and sublime, to the mundane everyday life that takes place there. I think the politics would take on a very different direction if we, all of us, would first focus on what makes it special and holy to us as individuals. I have many I would like to share, but for now I will share this – a chance encounter in a bakery, told by a teacher in Jerusalem:

“This morning I was in a bakery in Jerusalem when I noticed that I was standing behind Natan Sharansky. (Sharansky is the famous Refusnik from the former Soviet Union, who suffered years of persecution and imprisonment under the communist regime in order to be able to move to Israel. He finally did and rose to become a minister in the Israeli government. He is now retired and lives in Jerusalem.) I summoned up my courage and told him that I had just cited from his book this week in a class I was teaching on the Book of Psalms. I explained that I told my students the inspiring story of how he had kept a tiny book of Psalms with him at all times, even when he had to struggle with the authorities to get it back. At that point, Sharansky smiled, reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out that tiny (palm-sized) tattered book of Psalms. I was stunned, and I asked him “Do you carry that wherever you go?” Sharansky didn’t even pause and he replied “Actually, it carries me!”

So I ask you to share, if you have been to Jerusalem, a special moment you experienced – dramatic or mundane – that expresses the holiness and beauty of Jerusalem, that could not have happened anywhere else in the world.

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