by CSW Director Rob Field

 

Jerusalem’s Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock, situated just above it, are deeply sacred places for Jews and for Muslims around the world. I intuited the presence of powerful spiritual energy when I visited the foundation of the Temple in 2019, joining hundreds of others to pray in the beauty of peace and holiness.

It is especially sad, then, for me to learn the Temple Mount was one of the flashpoints for the Israel-Gaza war, now in progress. When the horrific attack on Israel took place last month, I was with two dozen pilgrims in Greece, following in the footsteps of St. Paul the Mystic. In the days that followed, we prayed frequently for people in both Israel and Gaza.

Since my return, the most hope-inspiring moment I’ve experienced took place in a house of worship in our little town. Jewish and Christian leaders in the community organized an interfaith gathering to pray for peace and for the people of the Middle East. I was moved to hear leaders of our Jewish community praying just as fervently for peace for the Palestinian people as for the people of Israel.

Norm Bossert, founder of the Brevard Jewish Community (and a CSW board member), brought me to tears as he addressed the gathering. He said, “I have family in Israel, I have friends from Israel. My daughter-in-law is Muslim, and my son — her husband — converted to Islam.” Norm went on to say he is connected to Israel as well as Palestine by these “not-so-invisible bonds.” As he fervently prays for peace in the Middle East, he said he is also praying for peace in Ukraine, where his grandfather was born in a village just north of Kiev.

“Prayer is good,” he said. “It’s comforting. But it is not enough. It’s our work to make peace. And we can’t wait for anyone else to make it for us. We have to begin it in this room, now. We have to reach out to one another now. We have to be hopeful for a better future now.”

Amen, Norm.

Thank you for speaking my heart.

  

photo of the Western Wall & Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem by Andrey Sulitskiy via Flickr