Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Way of the Heart

Eliyahu send an invite for a potluck break-the-ramadan-fast - Iftar at the Knights Palace Hotel where The Way of the Heart people were staying. I call them Chassidic Christians, even though some of them don't refer to themselves as Christians, because they get close to God through song and prayer and dance. There was a special aura about them.
I missed the first hour because of work - but got there in time for the listening circles. There must have been over 100 people. The group came mainly from the US and Australia plus a group of Moslems were bussed in from Nazareth to join us. It seemed all the local Jewish peace workers were there as well. The women from The Way of the Heart group were interesting to look at - all covered in ethnic shawls and beautiful colored clothing.

We shared the break-fast with the Moslems sitting down to a beautifully set table - with one date on our plate and water - which I found out is the traditional way to break the Ramadan fast. Pot luck turned out to be a buffet of a large variety of food - my cream cheese and labane were absolutely useless here so I tucked it back into my backpack. We'll eat it at home. Before we ate, blessings were said by Chrisian, Jewish and Moslem representatives. Then we dug in.

I was happy to see my new friend from the health food store arrive with a French friend of hers who is thinking of moving to our neighborhood. He was tall and looked to be quite a mix of races - black, oriental, and I don't know what else. I figured I'll invite him for Shabbat dinner and let Hubby do the probing which he always does so well.

After dinner, Gabriel Meyer, the founder of Sulha, was standing in the middle of a circle leading the singing and swaying. Chaim laughed and told me it looks like a Knights of Columbus prayer session. He also told me that Gabriel is going to India in two weeks to meet the Dalai Lama - at the Dalai Lama's invitation. Wow. By the time I get to Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama will be in the US. I'll have to meet him some other place and time.

The Moslems made a short presentation on Ramadan. The Way of the Heart people chanted the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic and sang songs in Aramaic. I thought it was pretty wild. I also thought they were probably the only people in the world who didn't need subtitles for Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ movie, which was all in Aramaic.

Afterwards, Dr. Michael Kagan made a beautiful presentation on the upcoming Jewish fast day of Yom Kippur and how we are like different threads that intertwine. We are different but end up touching each other, as it is now, having Ramadan and the Jewish holy days together this year. He explained Jewish traditions of Yom Kippur, by wearing white. It is also a tradition for men to wear a white "kittel" a thin belted cotton robe over your clothes - the same one you get married in, wear every Yom Kippur and eventually get buried in. This brings out humility. And the wearing of white is symbolic of being like angels, who generally do not eat, drink, have sexual relations - ever. But for one day we do this too. Moslems and Jews have a tradition that angels have one leg. Humans have two, denoting the choices one always has to make in life and the conflicts one comes across. Angels don't have this conflict - they just know what they have to do.

After we had an interactive session where we broke up into couples - asked forgiveness for someone we hurt and forgave someone who hurt us and forgave ourselves for hurting ourselves, while the other person was a witness.

My new friend was impressed by his teachings. I was glad to hear that, because he's having an interfaith thing at his home the first night of Sukkot. I would have had to have gone alone. Hubby is not into this stuff at all, so I am really grateful that God placed a like-minded person close to where I live so I have someone to share these experiences with.

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