Archive for March, 2008

Hear O Israel… Part 1

The long awaited story begins…

It’s been a while since my last post. Yes, I still need to share about my trip to Uganda, however, I want to start with Israel.

The Talmud teaches that “Ten measures of beauty descended on the world—nine were taken by Jerusalem, one by the rest of the world. There is no beauty like the beauty of Jerusalem.

“The sights are too many. They swarm about you at every step; no single foot of ground in all Jerusalem or within its neighborhood seems to be without a stirring and important history of its own.”

-Mark Twain

This is just how I feel about all of Israel. I cannot count the blessings I have had poured out on me during the last months. If I could share completely with you what has taken place in my life, you would understand my absence in blogger land. So, dust off those RSS readers or at least add mine back to your list and I will try to pick up this thing called blogging again.

Every life is a story. I would ask you, “what’s yours?” but that would be something for your blog. Mine is an adventure. It is abundant and overflowing. Thank you Lord.

About 4 years ago, I had entered a picture into Kodak Picture of the Day. I had learned about the POTD through dgrin, a photographers forum sponsored by Smugmug. Through that forum, I met many wonderful people… Andy, who took a picture of my picture displayed in Time Square, Ginger, a wonderful lady and photographer who passed away summer of 2007… The list goes on and on.

But there is one more… Nir Alon.

Nir and I first started our conversation over an article he had written on Ein-Karem, the traditional birth place of John the Baptist. One email lead to another and another and another. An internet friendship was born.

It’s funny… Meeting Nir’s wife, Dorit, for the first time, she said she had a hard time explaining to her friends that her husband was spending three days in northern Israel with a man he met on the internet. (I still laugh every time I share that) I apologize Dorit.

Anyhow, an internet friendship was born. The truth is this, I would not have made my trip to Israel such a priority had it not been for the friendship developed with Nir and his family.

Nir is a very talented photographer of which he will disagree because he is also humble. He has highly recognized by his community through projects like “In Spite Of” and his current project, Malkis Legacy. On top of all this, he is a Husband and father of three. Although his oldest, Uri is out of the house serving in the Navy, his two daughters, Tamar (17?) and Hila (13) are keeping him on his toes.

It was a wonderful time. Although Nir and I have different views on Faith, it didn’t stop our conversation. It was a joy to share my perspective on faith in his land and also to hear of his perspective on the state of Israel. (So many have given their lives for Israel… It’s a beautiful place because the cost is high). Meeting Nir and spending time with him on the “road” fulfilled more than both he or I could ever know.

My blog title is “road to gaza” which Nir tells me, “Gaza could be interpreted as ‘Hell.’” Nice, the “Road to Hell” Never thought about it that way. I of course took the name from the book of Acts and the story of Philip and the Ethiopian conversion. The point was inspired by people you meet on the road not the destination. (Although, having said that, I meet a lot of people who’s lives are a road leading to hell… They are harassed, helpless and without hope) Nir and I traveled a road… not to Gaza, which is a good thing since the time I was there, conflict was heavy and still is as of the writing of this blog.

No, our road led to different places…

Jerusalem, City of Gold and the home of Nir Alon. I’m not sure what seeds fell, where they fell or how much yield will come from the crop of our journey together. I only know what has started to grow in my life because of my friendship and my life is changed for the better.

As I continue to share in future parts of this story, you will hear my questions and thoughts about the physical vs. the spiritual, the traditional vs. the mystery and the humanity vs. the humanity. It was a lot to take in. I only know I missed most of it. Yet, what I did manage to capture will stay with me forever. Some are photos, some are thoughts… all of it is heart.

peace.
johno~

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