Sunday, 20 January 2013

My fascination with Jews

Papyrus 46, one of the oldest New Testament papyri, showing 2 Cor 11:33-12:9All right I have read the Bible, at fourteen there was the version of the Bible which was in use and I read it. Luckily, we had to read the books in the  New Testament as part of the preparation for Confirmation class so I only had to cover the Old Testament to consider having read the whole book. I tried marking the verses so that I could develop some interest in it, however the New Testament held the fascination. Maybe it was the poetry of  the words, but I was in love with  the following verse from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, 
they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  
That was the closest I came to appreciating the Bible and what it represented. Faith, practice and the Bible were 3 separate entities.

The years passed and other preoccupations took place, and then my father died and I started visiting Curacao, not knowing anything of the history or even the geographical location of the place. On my way to Punda  where we visited almost every day, I saw a cemetery with angels, where every thing was a synchronised white. There was no grass and everything was neatly laid out. I was struck by how peaceful it was.
Our cemeteries were associated with scary stories of not passing by them close to six pm in the evening, probably a ruse to get us home early. So seeing a cemetery like that one was an eye opener. It turned out to be a Jewish cemetery.
Eventually, I discovered the Synagogue and started learning about the history of the people who worshipped  there,  their  rules in that men sat on one side and women sat on the other. Luckily for me, there was  no one  to see that  the first time I went, I sat on the male side. After that every time, I went to the Synagogue, I would  sit on the side for the females.  I suppose that some of the concepts started sinking in and I was respectful of the customs.
My poor mother would wait paitently while I sat on the bench, my head buried in my hands, like I did when I was small and my father was in church with me. Here I would swipe my feet in the sand, back and forth, not caring how dusty they became, aware that the salt in the sand was being used with the same purpose that we use salt in our blessings as Charismatics. There was no disrespect in moving the sand back and forth, playing with it as the floor was covered with sand and salt. There was relief.
The sandy floor of the Synagogue. 

Eventually I visited the Museum, as that took some working up to. By 2009,  I took pictures of various bits of information on the compound which I am sharing here:

The above scene depicts Jacob's Ladder....

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