Sandstorm ushering in High Holy Days

Tuesday morning Jerusalem — the whole of the Middle East — awoke to skies choked with sand. The sun was darkened and visibility was maybe a quarter of mile. After Wednesday when the air was hardly improved, we learned this storm may last through the weekend. We are in the last week of the Hebrew month of Elul. Tishrei and new Jewish New Year begin Sunday night with the Feast of Trumpets, which is the […]

Smoke rises from Wadi Joz in east Jerusalem. The author could not find a media report to explain the event.

What kind of city of this?

I love Jerusalem. As a friend reminds me, the city is sealed on my heart. I ache when I am not here. Still, sometimes, I marvel at its idiosyncrasies. That’s almost too mild a word. This place can be weird. It’s a city of conflict and coexistence. That’s just one paradox. Most of times, I can smile, shrug and say, “That’s Jerusalem.”  Not today.

Re-Drawing the Middle East Map

I recently had a vision of a new season in the Middle East defined by the re-drawing of its borders. I saw angels being released who had sashes over their shoulders on which were written the phrase “Border angel”. They were being sent forth to reset borders according to their original ethnic calling. In the Scriptures, the word “nations” is not used in our modern sense of “nation states” but more in the sense of “peoples” or “ethnic groups”. Many of the crises facing the Middle East can be traced to the colonial powers’ decision to re-draw the map of the Middle East (also in Africa) as modern nation states, putting warring tribal and religious groupings in the same nation state, and dividing united tribal or religious groups into different nation states.