Against the power of a solar storm, against the aurora showing off what beauty can be, the warning blasted and blinded me. Israel and Palestine, singed from the heavens, never to be?
Forty years ago I walked these lands. Two years of taking in the wonder and horror, of history, of one day in East Jerusalem, I cry out now as I did not then.
That evening in 1976, I slept in a Pasha’s palace, awakening to the call to prayer near the Mosque of Omar. In the bathroom the silhouette of my ripening belly, full of possibility for my developing Jewish baby, I prayed: let this city of Jesus and Mohammed divide no more. May this Ramadan share light with the Days of Awe. May the burning tires and angry young men gathered near rusted tanks and seared, dry land rejoice as waters begin to flow and flow, signaling a rebirth just as my waters break through. The end of lines dividing hope from despair, this was my prayer.
Rakhamim transliterates as compassion, derived from rekhem, Hebrew for womb. If only Likud saw the birthing of everyone as a merciful act, a miracle of life, as my in utero life heard the Ramadan morning call to prayer.
This morning, despair doubles me over in pain. The ghost of Rabin haunts me as he gathers the bewildered eyes of Arab and Jewish children. All dead now.
Last night the privileged with water voted for more death. I mourn for the souls of Abraham.
I had had such hope that early morning in 1976; now the year is 2015 and Sarah wails with me as her husband wanders in madness.
Sal is an activist, community organizer, and well-published educator in social inequalities and health. She received a Masters in Counseling Education from Boston University, and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Public Health from Harvard. Throughout her years as a professor, she actively engaged with the Office of the Chaplains and Center for Public Service at Brown to link academia and compassionate activism. She is currently a student in the Interfaith Leadership Certificate Program.
Image courtesy of NASA.