Today we went to the Christian quarter in the ancient city and then we had class with Dov Shinar. I was unsure what to expect at the Christian quarter since I was raised Catholic and I’ve learned a certain story of the life of Jesus. It was a very enlightening experience that I feel is essential to the history of Jerusalem. Later, Dov discussed the historical background of Judaism from the beginning of time. He laid out a timeline and it helped to put everything into perspective.
At the Christian quarter, we were given an extensive lesson of the land and the past that helped shape the way it is today. My favorite aspect was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is claimed to be the spot where Jesus died, was buried, and resurrected; we were able to actually touch the bedrock that he was laid upon. It was a profound moment for me because it has pieced together the ideas and beliefs that I have learned throughout my religious life. Everything is only the way you imagine it before you really see it. Walking through the church I was struck with a sense of peace and happiness as well. I can only define it as a very calming and spiritual experience.
Dov Shinar then gave us a presentation of the history of Judaism. I am very unfamiliar with the historical background but I was surprised to learn of the extraordinary comparison between Israel and Jordan. Jordan became a fully sovereign nation only one year before Israel, in 1946. Before this, there was a plethora or treaties and agreements of the Israeli-Palestinian borders. I find it ironic that it has been over 60 years since the founding of these two nations yet we still see the same problems today that were present that long ago.
Today I learned to reflect on much of my religious learning throughout my life. Walking through the Christian quarter has allowed me to think more about my own faith and how I perceive it. I was able to learn a lot about myself today. Additionally, I came to a better understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because of the timeline that Dov has provided us with. Today was definitely a learning experience in all aspects.