Losing Europe's soul? 1-23-12
A religiously literate city: 1-25-12

Preparing to visit Israel: 1-24-12

I am getting more and more pumped up about the trip I'll be helping to lead to Israel in April.


This past Sunday, my two co-leaders, Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn and Father Gar Demo, and I met with some of the folks who will be going along with us on this 10-day Jewish-Christian study tour.

That's Jacques in the picture here today going over the itinerary. In front of him is a map of Israel he used to point out our various planned stops.

What especially excites me about this journey is the chance to spend 10 days with Jews and Christians together as those of us who are trip leaders try to facilitate some good discussions about the various ways people of different faith traditions may see things the same and may see things differently. And each person going on the trip will bring along a unique perspective that will add richness to the mix. That's already clear.

I'm also excited about the opportunity we'll have to juxtapose biblical and modern times. For instance, as we visit a place like modern Caesarea, I'll be sharing some passages of scripture that describe some events that happened there 2,000 or more years ago. We'll see if we can more fully grasp history by standing in places where history happened.

We're beyond the deadline for locking in airline reservations at the guaranteed rate, but we're not too late to add more people to the trip. The link I gave you in the first paragraph here will give you a page that gives you links to register. And from there you can contact the company making our arrangements to see what costs would be.

As time and opportunity permit, I hope to be sharing with you here on the blog some of our experiences from the April trip. By the way, two good ways to keep up with news from Israel is to read the online version of the Jerusalem Post and of the newspaper Haaretz. I've downloaded free apps on my iPad2 for both of those outlets and will be trying to stay somewhat up to speed on Israeli news as we prepare for this trip.

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And speaking of that part of the world, Egypt's new parliament gathered for the first time yesterday, and this good analysis in the Christian Science Monitor lays out some of the concerns about some of the members who represent a rigid and deeply conservative movement within Islam. In any democracy there should be room for all but violent extremists, but if Egypt is to emerge from its long nightmare of dictatorship and into liberty it will need approaches different from those of the Salafis.


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