02 October 2007

Ramadan and Sukkoth in Jerusalem

I arrived safely in Tel Aviv this afternoon, and Mary Wendeln from CPT's Hebron project met me at the airport. We took a shuttle to the Jaffa Gate, an entrance to the Old City in Jerusalem where Christians, Jews and Muslims can enter and easily access their own quarters of the Old City. It's high festival time now, for both Jewish and Muslim faiths. Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic year, continues in its third full week. Muslims fast during daylight hours and break the fast together after the call to prayer at sunset. This year it coincides with Sukkoth, the Jewish feast of the Tabernacle.

The city is alive, even at this late hour of the evening, with vendors selling food, shoes, cloth, pottery, and all sorts of beautiful artisan work. The Damascus Gate, at the entrance to the Muslim quarter, is adorned with bright lights and crowds of people wander through the stands, smoking nargeelah and talking.

Tomorrow we head out to Hebron, a 30 mile trip that takes 2 hours because of road closures and checkpoints. While Israelis have access to good roads, Palestinians must use separate (and unequal) roads to travel, and CPT will travel with the Palestinians. I'm looking forward to more reunions with many of the people who were in my January CPT training in Chicago-- 6 of them, in fact! We pretty much are the Palestine teams now ;) Keep posted for more news (and hopefully photos coming soon) from the Holy Land.


jess devries said...

i am excited to hear about your adventures. i have a few blogs that i read on breaks at work... and now i have a new one. :) i left you earring posts at the CPT office, but i think i missed you by a few hours before your plane. traveling mercies my dear.

laura said...

many blessing dear Sarah!
hope to see you soon!

(just being picky but.... palestinians can not always reach their quarters easily: especially in holy days there is a strict control and often a blockade on the accesses to the Old City and the holy sites..)