I knew this sabbatical would be challenging, in part because it includes being uncomfortable in a different place, with different people, with a different agenda – this will be a difficult time through which I hope will come insight and personal fine-tuning. The term sabbatical at its root means set apart as special or holy or unique. So I try to claim each day as unique in its own right so I seek to make the best of all I have the opportunity to discover.
Last night at the café where I will be working part time not as barista but as teacher, I watched 20 young adults engage each other over books or simple conversation. It was an oasis of unity and exploration. As I was the only old guy around I kept my distance on my iPad and noticed I was the only one using technology while they all were face to face – no Facebook! These Palestinians know how to relate.
One goal is to read all the Bible (avoiding all the purity laws) in – Palestinian – situ. I made it today through the first five books, the Torah or teaching. But the real joy of it was sitting on a rooftop taking in all of Bethlehem and the surrounding area, as below.
I watched the whole day go by in a very suburban environment, as shepherd’s goats and sheep, a donkey ridden and noisy roosters surrounded me. As I read about Rachel, I knew that tradition says that she is buried just over the hill.