Friday, December 14, 2012

Farms and Old Jerusalem

Our journey today took us further into Palestine.  Today I met another Palestinian Christian.  His name is Daude (david) and he is a farmer.  His farm is on a hill in "Zone C" of Palestine.  This means Palestinians live there but it is completely controlled by Israel for the sake of all resources like water, electricity, trash etc and defense.  His land is surrounded by Israeli settlements and they would like to have access to his land as well.  He has been in a court case for 18 years defending his ownership.  So far he is still on his land.

Farming is hard when you don't have access to electricity and water.  Because Israel has the power of who gets what in Palestine most communities do not receive full water or electricity like the rest of Israel and the settlements.  They compensate by using water barrells on roofs that collect water when it is running and from rain.  Beyond that since it is under Israel control he is regularly denied building permits to build new structures to help the farm.  He is often given orders to tear down structures.  His road is also blocked by large rocks to make it more difficult for him to get to his home town of Bethlehem.

He is also the creator and leader of "Tent of Nations" a NGO that seeks to bring internationals into his farm and share with them his story and the rest of Palestine.  He also teaches nonviolence to these visitors.  Some come and stay a whole year others come just for a couple weeks in the summer.  All help on the farm in some way.  His goal is to be self sustaining at some point.

In the afternoon we traveled down to "Old Jerusalem"  what a cool place full of the oldest portions of Jerusalem.  We visited the Church of the Holy Schelpuchure and the western temple wall.  The church caused mixed feelings.  At one point I was awed by the size and scope of its mosaics.  At another point I am uneasy with the Orthodox style of worship that involves lots of gold and other ornate elements.  The wailing wall is very large and impressive.  But like the church it is neat to know this is the foundation of the old temples but I was not overly moved by the expereince.

I suppose that is risk you take with such sites.  You come hoping to be moved and sometimes you're not.  It happens.  I am also battling (as usual) some sort of nausea that has been effecting me for about 24hours.  I hope tomorrow to be in full health once I sleep it off and take my medicine.

Finally tonight we met with a self proclaimed Zionist Orthodox Jew and he very energetically shared with us all the power of Shabbat (Sabbath). He is as excited as he is informative.  I enjoyed meeting hime and hearing all about the different ways Judaism is practiced in Israel.  He also taught us many things about Sabbath that I think I would like to incorporate at some level in my own life.

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