I hate when I lie, and that's the truth!
I promised Hyam that she'd have no problem getting through the Israeli border today. Apparently her number came up and the border guards kept her behind for more than 2.5 hours for whatever reason they do those things. She survived, and I think it was actually an important moment for our group to see what sure appeared to be bold discrimination against a young Arab woman by the soldiers. I was very impressed with how Hyam processed what I think was really pretty traumatic for her, and very pleased with the support for her shown by every member of the group. After leaving the secured area without her, Charlie even managed to talk his way back in, went to bat for Hyam with the passport people, then got himself yelled out by a guard for his troubles.
As amazing as this week has been, one of the highlights for me so far has been being able to worship with the group tonight at the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, or Shabbat. George (not Charlie, as previously rumored;-) led us through the ceremony (photo to the left) that has been practiced by Jews every Friday night for thousands of years. His explanations and patience with us allowed for a very significant time of reflection on my faith, the rituals in which the sacrament of my Lord's supper is rooted, and the respect and appreciation that can be shared by people of differences when they are all seeking the same God.
If you're on Facebook, I think you can also follow some of the real time photos and updates we do there. Try www.facebook.com/#/j.samples?ref=name if you are a Facebooker.
My flickr pictures are here:
• DAY 4 Begins here on the way to Wadi Rum, Jordan: www.flickr.com/photos/jsam/sets/72157623116065626/
• DAY 5 Begins here on New Year's Day and into Israel: www.flickr.com/photos/jsam/sets/72157622991698333
Paul Gibson's photos are here: