On October 31, several of us here at Grace will join some other folks from NJ, NY, and Montreal, Canada to visit Israel and then Rome, Italy. The group is intentionally comprised of Christians from different denominations and Jews who are in the Reformed, Conservative, and Orthodox traditions of Judaism. Some of us have been to these places before and for others it will be the first visit. The title of this blog (which I hope to post to during the ten-day trip) captures the idea behind taking this diverse group. That is, that we tend to imagine a geographical place only in terms of its significance to us, often overlooking its significance to someone else.
This idea was driven home to me when, visiting my grandfather’s farm after his death along with older and much younger cousins, I realized that I thought I knew the significance of every spot on that property. It was very eye-opening to me to hear about all the places so familiar to me through my cousins’ memories of their time there.
Even the planning for this trip has been instructive. We have had to take into account not being able to reach our Jewish friends on the phone during their Sabbath and to take into account “important” sites according to someone else’s history, not necessarily our own.
So, stay tuned as we make this journey, this “aliyah” (“going up”) to Israel and Italy. Hopefully, the lessons we learn will become a part of our life back here in the Grace community.