Unheralded

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Holy Land, Day 11

I am writing this blog with my headphones on and classical music ringing in my ears. We are staying at a Youth Hostel on the Sea of Galilee, where a lot of families come, and near as I can tell, let their children run wild. Last night, there were shouts in the hallway echoing loudly in my room until midnight …


Unheralded

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Holy Land, Day 10

It’s loud at our lodging tonight as I write this. Children are running around, yelling joyfully, riding on scooters and playing with each other as parents mill about, sipping on wine. Toto, we aren’t in Palestine anymore. Tonight is our first evening in Israel, as we are staying in Galilee to see the places where Jesus grew up and where …


PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Holy Land, Day 9

A story in four acts. The first act involves the land and nature. We visited the Environmental Education Center, a ministry of the Lutheran Church, on the campus of the Talitha Kumi Lutheran School. Michael, the very knowledgeable and passionate ornithologist on staff, showed us around their wonderful center. There we saw the botanical garden with only indigenous plants, tasted …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Holy Land, Day 8, Old Hebron

I have traveled the world and been in all sorts of situations. But I never experienced what I did today in Hebron. I walked through what felt like a war zone on a tense truce as I saw a town gasping for its own survival. This story, which is the story of Old Hebron, began in 1979 when a group …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Holy Land, Day 8, Hebron

In February 1994, I wrote a letter to the editor of The Fargo Forum. I wrote it on a Saturday morning. The day before two events occurred. In one, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding faced off in the Ladies Short Program of the 1994 Winter Olympics. In the other, 29 Muslims, including women and children who had come to pray …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Holy Land, Day 7

Today we journeyed to Bethlehem (pictured above). No star to guide us, but walls to divide us, and to divide the Palestinian people. Once we passed through the wall, we headed to the Shepherd’s Field, where shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night. This was without a doubt my favorite place we have visited so far in terms …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Holy Land, Day 6

Our day began venturing into the West Bank. I am slowly beginning to understand the wall in the West Bank. It is not like the Berlin Wall or the wall some people think is a good idea on our borders, but rather a wall that separates Palestinian from Palestinian. It was created because each of the areas in the West …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Holy Land, Day 5

After doing a photo essay yesterday on Facebook, it is back to blogging today, to sort out what was a day of intense emotion. As it is Sunday, and we are a group from the New England Synod visiting our Companion Synod, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, we set off early for worship. Our group …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Holy Land, Day 3

Although over the years I have read articles and books about the situation in Palestine and Israel, today as we drove through the West Bank and East Jerusalem on a tour led by Jeff Halper, the founder of the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions, a nonprofit, direct action group dedicated to opposing and resisting the demolition of Palestinian homes, it …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — The Holy Land, Day 1

After a typical Middle Eastern breakfast of pita, cheese, vegetables, an egg and hummus, our group, a mixture laypeople and clergy from the New England Synod on a Companion Synod Pilgrimage to visit the places and people connected with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, went off for our first stop. We arrived at the Dome …