Today was Yom Kippur Eve and it was a lock down day at the center since there was a riot on the temple mount. I had no idea that a holiday like this could cause so much commotion! From what I have gathered, some Jews were admitted onto the temple mount and they began to pray there which spurred violence from the Muslims. How bad it got or how many were injured I haven’t a clue. We were actually on our way into the city when policemen stopped us at Lion’s Gate and told us it wasn’t safe for us today. We got a call from the Center simultaneously requesting our immediate return. Later, safe in the JC, when I was hungrily surfing the internet for any update, all I could find was this glowing review: This week Centenarian Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv ruled that Crocs sandals cannot be worn on Yom Kippur because they are too comfortable. It was a little frustrating.
My grandpa used to say, “Studying philosophy doesn’t give you any answers but it sure sharpens the questions.” I correctly anticipated that my understanding of the conflict here would be the same. Studying the history of the conflict and feeling the hatred between the people so closely heavily saturates the color but I find that the image is not any clearer. Bapa also said that life’s answers are found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yesterday, our Relief Society President, Zahar, gave a fireside about how the gospel has helped her resolve the conflict in her heart, growing up as a Palestinian in Bethlehem. She joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in her twenties while going to school in the United States and after returning home she found that she had to pass the border and Israeli soldiers every Sabbath to go to church. As she worked week after week after week to feel the love that the Savior has for those soldiers she said that she was slowly able to let go of her hatred for the people who have caused death and pain in her family. There is just as much pain being felt on the Israeli side of the conflict. Each time I really look at someone in the city now I find myself praying that they can find true peace and the power to forgive in their faith. Zahar is a living example that with God it is not impossible.