Bringing my character defects to the land of milk and honey

In Jerusalem

I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about Jerusalem at some point, though I’m making myself wait a reasonable amount of time before sharing with anyone outside of my closest friends. It’s been truly meaningful, in ways expected and unexpected.

One funny thing: I went to the Western Wall for the first time today, something I had great anticipation and excitement to do. I mean, I’ve only been waiting about thirty years. Anyway, what ended up happening is that I got there and was totally irritated by so many of the people there. Where do I start? Women dressed inappropriately (in trousers, upper arms on show, etc); women turning their backs on the wall, despite the good example of how to safely back away from the wall being provided by so many around them; women posing in “prayer” for videos being shot by women who turned their backs on the wall to get panoramic shots; women on their cell phones; unruly children being allowed to run around, scream and fight in the one place on this planet most known as a site of prayer…I could go on. I had to focus so hard on being tolerant and accepting of these conditions, trying my best not to even THINK of any swears at this holy site (and boy, could I have thought of a few).

At the Western Wall, Jerusalem

Later, I told a new friend here in Jerusalem that I pray so much to be more tolerant and accepting, but in the face of situations like the above, I feel how far I have to go. “Oh,” he said, “it’s kind of an old joke around here. You pray for tolerance and acceptance and God puts some Israelis in front of you to see if you really mean it.” Well, a lot of those people weren’t Israelis, and I know I can be aggravated by people born anywhere, but I appreciated the thought. Progress, not perfection…


One thought on “Bringing my character defects to the land of milk and honey

  1. You must have been feeling about the same thing I do when kids receive their first communion in jeans and t-shirts.
    Nothing is special anymore.

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