Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bethlehem

I'm at the Tantur Institute in Jerusalem. Sans luggage of course. Continental doesn't have a clue where it is. I am convinced it never left home. But that's a whole 'nuther long post, a big whine.

Tantur is a lovely place. The buildings are all Jerusalem limestone (as are all buildings in Jerusalem) Roses are blooming everywhere. It sits on a hill overlooking both the Old City and Jerusalem.

We are a 7 minute walk from the check point. And then it's another 45 minutes or so into Manger Square. I'm hoping to walk. I've found someone who will go with me this morning.

I am excited.

I learned this morning that although the Institute is ecumenical, the property is actually owned by the Vatican. So, our schedule is being revised so that there is no formal program here while the Pope is in Jerusalem (bad form or something). So we have an overnight trip to Northern Israel leaving Sunday and returning Monday. I think on Friday, we have a visit to the Old City and then Tuesday a trip into Bethlehem. I'm coming home on Thursday.

There are folks from all over the world for this conference. I've met several people from Ireland and one from Australia. The conference actually begins tonight. So I have today free to wander around.

We are going through the checkpoint that most West Bankers use to come into Jerusalem to work. I am told that when there was a big ecumenical conference here with the Archbishop of Canterbury and a lot of other big muckety-mucks they walked to the check point to show solidarity with the Palestinians and the Israeli soldiers wouldn't let them enter there. They had to go through the car check point (which obviously almost no Palestinians use).

I hope to post more and pictures.