By Jackie Feldman
For plenty of Evangelical Christians, a visit to the Holy Land is a vital part of training their religion. Arriving in teams, almost all these pilgrims are guided by way of Jewish Israeli travel courses. For greater than 3 a long time, Jackie Feldman—born into an Orthodox Jewish kinfolk in long island, now an Israeli citizen, student, and authorized guide—has been top excursions, analyzing Biblical landscapes, and fielding questions on faith and present politics. during this e-book, he attracts on pilgrimage and tourism reviews, his personal reviews, and interviews with different courses, Palestinian drivers and commute brokers, and Christian pastors to check the complicated interactions in which courses and travelers "co-produce" the Bible Land. He uncovers the implicit politics of go back and forth brochures and spiritual souvenirs. Feldman asks what it skill while Jewish-Israeli publications get stuck up of their personal performances or perform Christian rituals, and displays on how his interactions with Christian travelers have replaced his realizing of himself and his perspectives of faith.
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67 The stage on which guide/group interactions take place is precharged with expectations and spiritual meaning. Pilgrims or Tourists? I have often visited the Holy Sepulchre with groups of British or American Evangelicals who witness the practices of the Russian Orthodox pilgrims as they prostrate themselves, weep, and embrace the Stone of Unction, before emptying their shopping bags of souvenirs on it, so that each item may receive blessing from contact with the slab. ” they hem and haw in their efforts to find a formulation they can live with.
Most of these pilgrims come in organized groups and are guided by government-licensed Jewish-Israeli tour guides. I have been a licensed guide for more than three decades; for more than twenty years, such groups provided me with my daily bread. The pilgrims I guided and studied came with their Bibles, their hymnals, and their faith but also with the images of conflict and violence broadcast on the evening news. Thus, at the outset, Israel/Palestine is not only the “cradle of civilization” and birthplace of Christianity but also the bloody battleground of Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Muslims, and, for some, the church and the forces of the Antichrist.
My flirtation with Christianity has become less emotionally charged as I grow older and define myself in other situations, as opposed to other others – mainly Jewish-Israelis whose religious or political orientations I disagree with. In working with Christian groups, I sometimes marshal tried-and-tested answers to parry confrontations before they are voiced. Many of the religious questions I struggled with as a 22-year-old new immigrant, with his kippa (skullcap) no longer on his head but still in his pocket, have lost much of their urgency.
A Jewish Guide in the Holy Land: How Christian Pilgrims Made Me Israeli by Jackie Feldman