Safe In Israel II: The Attorney Saves the Rabbi

We enjoy a wonderful dinner at Asian restaurant as our group looks forward to its firs full day of touring tomorrow.


My lost luggage has been found, so all’s well that ends well on that score!

But it is a miracle that I got here at all.

The miracle worker was Attorney Barry Roth, who has spent more hours than anyone can imagine working out the logistics of our trip!

Barry graciously offered to drive me from Sanibel to Miami because he, his partner Ying and I were all on the same flights … or so we thought. But the absent minded rabbi failed to notice that his flight was leaving several hours earlier than Barry’s.

I realized my mistake when at a rest stop along Alligator Alley, I got a text saying my flight leaves in two hours.

It was then that Barry turned into a skilled race car driver.

He covered the distance to the airport in world record time, jumped out of the car, helped me curbside check my bag and because of him without a moment to spare I made my plane.

Now we are all here and ready for our tour. While the rest of the group enjoyed a marvelous tour of the City of David excavations, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of first year American Rabbinical and Cantorial Students at Hebrew UnionCollege in Jerusalem!

We are filled with excitement as we enjoy a scrumptious dinner at a wonderful Israeli Asian restaurant.

1000 thanks to Barry Roth for getting me here and arranging a trip I am sure no one will ever forget!

A Song For David


Rabbi David Sobel—In Memoriam

 Walking along Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, Vickie and I met a man and his wife from Boston. As we chatted and learned we had lived in West Hartford, he asked, “Did you know David Sobel? He was a Rabbi in the Air Force and my chaplain when I served in Thailand in the 70’s.

Oh yes, I answered, I knew David.

We have learned: “He who sings, prays twice.” David Sobel’s life was a musical prayer of exquisite beauty and meaning.

Every time I visit the Congregation Beth Israel Cemetery in Hartford I stop by David’s grave. We began our studies together in the summer of 1968.  We played basketball and tennis together. He was a fine athlete.  He was a bundle of energy, and he played both games in an aggressive, take-no-prisoners style.  He loved life, and he loved music.

Mort Glotzer, of blessed memory, once shared these thoughts about David with me:

“The Sobels, Bea, Charles, Donna, David, Andy and Amy lived next door to my parents on Kirkwood in the Golf Acres section of West Hartford.  Bea was a president of the Temple Sisterhood. Charlie was active in the Brotherhood. Both Donna and David were members of the Senior Youth Group when Arline and I were the adult advisors.  The Sobel kids were among our favorites.

David was a fine athlete.  I believe that he wrestled in high school and college.  He worked as a construction laborer during summer vacations. He told me that he worked in the engine room of a freighter ship on his trip home after his year in Israel.  He was not afraid of hard work.

David was the student Rabbi at the Farmington Valley Jewish Center during his last year at Hebrew Union College.  One Friday afternoon, I met him on a flight that he boarded in Cincinnati.  I mentioned to a colleague of mine who sat next to him that he was a friend of mine. My colleague (a Christian) asked me if I knew that David was going to be a Rabbi and that he played in a rock band on Saturday nights.  I knew about everything except the rock band, but that didn’t surprise me.  David was a regular guy.

After his ordination, David served as a chaplain in the United States Air Force.  In a tragic accident he was killed in Bangkok.

One evening, Bea came over to my parents’ house to tell them that David had been killed in Bangkok.  We were stunned…the chief Chaplain from the Air Force preached at his funeral.  There was a military honor guard.  Bea wouldn’t allow a rifle salute.  It wasn’t the kind of honor that was appropriate for a Rabbi.”

Each time I see it David’s tombstone reminds me how fragile life is.  It is a gift we can lose in an instant.  Each visit to his grave is another reminder to try to make each minute of each hour of each day count for something meaningful and purposeful.  We never know when our time is up.

In a memorial tribute to David, navy chaplain Rabbi John J. Rosenblatt wrote: 

David felt that he was in God’s service to bring spiritual comfort where it was most needed.  Individuals were his congregation.  Open fields were his synagogues.”

David Mark Sobel was a son of Congregation Beth Israel of which I am Rabbi Emeritus.  The atmosphere and opportunities Beth Israel afforded him helped him become the man he was. “Alas for those who die with their songs still in them.”  I see David now, slashing toward the basket, going for broke by trying for an improbable winner on the tennis court, playing his guitar, speaking in the short clipped tones I remember, a kinetic, energetic force, small in stature, strong of body, persistent of mind.

His energy was so palpable that it is hard for me to imagine him gone even though he died more than 45 years ago. We played together.  We learned together.  Now he is gone, and I am still here.  Why?  I ask, but I know the question brings no answer.  I do know that thinking of David strengthens my resolve to use the time I have to make a difference.

When we think of those like David who died too young, we think also of the victims of last week’s tragedy in San Diego, the ones in Sri Lanka and Pittsburgh and the many that preceded them. We shudder in dreadful anticipation of next week’s tragedy. But David Sobel and all of those we have lost through war, terror or disaster, over the years can and do live on when they inspire us to be better people.

We cannot understand why they had to die, but we can honor their memories with more compassion for others, more zeal for good causes, more discipline for purposeful living and more strength to turn away from that which is foolish and vain.

“Repent one day before your death.”  The Sages taught.  But how do we know when we shall die, a student asked?

“We do not,” answered the Sages, “so we had better repent today, for none of us has a guarantee on tomorrow.” (Pirke Avot2:10)

 Alas for those who die with their songs still in them, but happy is their fate compared to those who sing no songs at all.  So let us sing as if there were no tomorrow, and may the melodies and lyrics of our lives find favor before the throne of The Eternal One.


Safe in Israel

After a long and somewhat harrowing journey including a still not delivered lost suitcase, I am safe in Jerusalem. With all we read about terrorism, “Safe in Israel” may seem like an oxymoron, but everything considered, I feel safer here than anywhere else in the world. 

Jet lag has a big effect on me, so even after a decent night’s sleep I am still tired. Today Vickie and I will do a bit of shopping to buy basic clothing in case my bag (God forbid!) doesn’t arrive.

Tomorrow I will lead a “Lunch and Learn” session for Hebrew Union College Rabbinical and Cantorial students before meeting up with our tour group for what promises to be an exciting and fulfilling ten days together.

Pastor John Danner and I have already conducted two 90-minute classes, while we were still in Sanibel, to give participants and others who attended an overview on the history and current reality of Israel. In addition Barry Roth and Alan Lessack have done an amazingly helpful and thorough job of briefing trip participants on all the particulars and logistics of the trip. Our group is ready to go.

That said unexpected things and not all of them pleasant — like my lost bag — might happen. I hope they do not, but if they do the most important antidote to these realities is the Hebrew word Savlanut.

Savlanutmeans, “Patience.” But it really goes beyond that. It means put the inconvenience you may experience in perspective of the bigger picture. Don’t let a minor mishap spoil a glorious trip. 

And have patience. As far as our trip goes, Pastor Danner, Alan, Barry and I will do our best to resolve difficulties that arise.

As for me, even if I have to wear the same clothes over and over and even if I have to hastily buy some clothes that I don’t really want or need, it is a small price to pay for the joy and the safety of being in Israel.


EWR — Newark Airport. It is a beautiful modern place, and I marvel at its opulence. It is also a place with vivid memories for me.

Newark Was the first airport to which I ever flew. As an eighteen-year-old freshman at Hamilton College, my first flight was home for Thanksgiving break, Utica NY to Newark, a one hour flight. It was such a special moment for me that I put on a suit for the occasion. Dad and Mom picked me up.

Newark Airport is also the last place I saw my father alive. I was a 24-year-old Rabbinical student off to spend my third year of graduate studies in Israel. Mom and Dad drove me to the airport.

These memories coursed through my mind as I landed at EWR from Miami en route to Tel Aviv. Pastor John Danner of Sanibel Congregational UCC and I are leading a joint Ten-day trip to Israel of Christians and Jews from our two congregations.

After the tour Vickie and I will stay on a few extra days to spend time with our son Leo, named after my father. On May 13 we shall fly to Hamburg to spend five weeks in Germany teaching about the Holocaust in schools. I will also teach in synagogues in Kiel and Friedrichstadt and at the Abraham Geiger Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin. I shall also speak and teach in several German churches.

An emotional highlight will occur when I preach at the famous Thomaskirche in Leipzig. Thomaskirche is the Church where Johann Sebastian Bach was Cantor for the last 20 years of his life until 1750. The church will be packed, not to hear me, but for the Motets, the famed choir-sung musical selections that are a major European tourist attraction. It will be the third time I have preached in the famous Cathedral, but my emotions will be like the first.

You see, Leipzig is the city where my father was born and grew up. He was a happy, popular youth, I was told, enjoying tennis and really excelling at ping pong. He won the city-wide men’s doubles championship at age fifteen.

But he stayed too long, and I’ll never know why.

He was one of 500 Jewish men in Leipzig arrested on the infamous “Night of Broken Glass,” November 9, 1938. But Dad was so fortunate to have an uncle and older brother in the United States who somehow got him out of Dachau and safely to New York. I never knew the details.

And so, when I climb the many stairs to the lofty pulpit in the Thomaskirche for the third time, the questions I would love to ask my father will swirl in my mind. Among them:

Why didn’t you leave earlier?

Did you ever have your heart broken?

What exactly happened to you on November 9, 1938 and the days following?

Are you pleased that Vickie and I do what we do in Germany?

Like the Thomaskirche in Leipzig Newark Airport brings memories and these questions to mind.

I yearn to hear my father’s voice answering my questions. But I. Do not.

Nevertheless, Vickie and I go forward. We urge Germans today to learn from the past in order to make the future better for our children, grandchildren and all those who will follow.

Cover of my new book reflecting on our work over the past four years and n Germany

Continuing My Comeback

Tee shirt — with the mantra I composed and my initials on my right shoulder—that I had made when I began my physical therapy.

If a couple conceived a baby on the day I underwent what my surgeon and physical therapist both called “massive” rotator cuff surgery, the baby would be due today. 

Nine months after the operation, which was followed by six months of three times a week physical therapy, I am on the way back to normal. It feels wonderful.

Of course, I still have a ways to go.

My left arm is still much stronger than my dominant right arm, and I am still very careful not to do too much. I am grateful that I only have occasional pain, and I am playing tennis two or three times a week.

Well, I am not really playing because I don’t serve and don’t hit overheads. I am waiting until I cross the one-year border before I do those things. Besides my wife would kill me if I did.

But I have put myself through several of (Beachview Tennis Club Pro) Toni Halski’s Tough Love Clinics with some of Sanibel’s better players, and I am able to keep up with the rapid pace and hold my own.  I also work with the ball machine, so I am getting a lot of reps in and, stroke-wise, I am pretty much back at the level I was before the operation.

Despite lots of gym work, I still need to improve my stamina and strength.

The real revelation of getting back to tennis is in how much joy I derive from it.

I am 73 years old, and I still get excited about being out on the court the next day. I spent many months waiting until I could do that.

On another note, my last Shabbat service for this season on Sanibel is tonight, and tomorrow, I leave for Israel where Pastor John Danner and I are leading a ten-day trip for members of both of our congregations. 

Then Vickie and I will fly to Germany for five weeks. There we will teach about the Holocaust in schools, and I will speak and teach in synagogues and churches. I will bring my bands with me to continue to strengthen my arm.

My surgeon, Dr. Thomas Dugdale, was very frank with me. “This is a fragile operation, and it could break down.”

That awareness is always in my mind. I will do all I can to keep that from happening, and I will also pray that it does not. 

When people ask me if prayer really helps, I respond, “It has never been known to hurt.”

But what I have learned is I must be grateful for every day I am able to enjoy the things I love most in life. The day will come for all of us when we cannot, so let us savor every happy experience and moment of joy that life offers.


I am so pleased to note that our upcoming trip to Israel includes a visit to Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity.

Seeing this Christian Holy Site on the itinerary brought my mind back to 1975 and a schoolteacher from Utah named Andrea. I cannot recall her last name; I have not seen nor heard from her since then, but I shall never forget her.

Our trip was sponsored by the National Education Association, and it offered professional educators (like Vickie) and their spouses (like me) an irresistible rate to tour “Israel and the Holy Land” over winter (read Christmas) recess.

On the day of departure the forecast was for snow, so we booked our airport Limo to allow an extra two hours to gets us to JFK from my mother’s apartment in East Orange, NJ.

Long story short, snow became a near blizzard. Not only did we not arrive two hours early, we missed the plane altogether. We learned that our Lufthansa flight was the only one that took off that evening.

Andrea, from Utah, also missed the flight. So the airline (those were the days) put us up at a hotel and booked us On a flight the next day. Our itinerary said we would visit Bethlehem on Christmas Eve for midnight mass at Church of the Nativity.

For Andrea, a faithful Catholic, Midnight Mass at the Church if the Nativity was not only the highlight of the trip, it was the raison d’etre.

Unfortunately, our missed flight was likely to put our arrival too late to join the group’s Christmas Eve excursion to Bethlehem. “It’s not that big a deal, Andrea,”I said, “I have been to the Church of the Nativity. It is very small, and Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is an invitation only VIP event. I am certain the plan is for us to be among the crowd in manger square and experience that unique atmosphere, but there is no way, I am sure, that our tour group is on the invitation list for the mass itself.”

Andrea would not hear of it. “Do you see what it says here,” she exclaimed holding the itinerary about four inches from my face: Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity.”

“Yes,” I replied, “at the church, meaning in the courtyard (which is something, I imagine, like being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve), but not in the small church for the service.

Not only did she not believe me, but by the time we landed in Tel Aviv at about Six PM on December 24, she had me almost convinced that we were to be guests inside the church. We rushed to our Jerusalem hotel only to learn that our group, had left for Bethlehem an hour earlier.

Vickie, pregnant with our first child Leo, was totally exhausted, so I volunteered to take Andrea to Bethlehem. When we arrived, Manger Square was packed. We searched in vain “for Dr.Plante and our group from the NEA.” Our task was nigh impossible because neither of us knew what Dr. Plante or anyone in our group looked like.

Suddenly at eleven o’clock a narrow gateway near the church opened, and Andrea and I joined the throng streaming toward it. We managed to pass that roadblock but then came to an even narrower gate where a guard questioned everyone going though and checked for weapons or bombs. Since we had neither of those, we passed that checkpoint as well. Finally with the entrance to the church just in front of us, we confronted another one-person-at-a-time check point where a Palestinian named Mr.Nasser was examining the invitations that those entitled to enter had to present.

Now, I was certain, we were cooked for sure.

When our turn came, I explained to Mr. Nasser how we missed our plane and were part of “a special delegation” with Dr. Plante from the National Education Association in the United States. I am sure he has our invitations. Mr Nasser sized up the situation and replied, “You (pointing to me) go into the church, find this man and bring her ticket out to her here. If you do not find him, you too must come back out.”

So I entered the church and asked every likely suspect if he were Dr. Plante. No luck. Meanwhile Mr. Nasser had entered the church and when I caught sight of him I hid behind a pillar hoping he would not see me and make me leave.

Then a miracle occurred. Literally five minutes before the service was to begin ANDREA APPEARED.

“How did you do it,” I asked?

“Someone outside had an extra invitation,” she answered, “and gave it to me.

And that’s how I get to attend Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity.

Back at the hotel we met up with our group the next morning at breakfast. They were all talking excitedly about heir experience of being in Manger Square outside the church where Jesus was born on Christmas Eve. They were dumbfounded by our story because no one expected to be inside the church itself … no one that is except Andrea.

Israel on My Mind

Sunset in Tel Aviv

My wife Vickie landed in Tel Aviv a short while ago. She left a few days before I do so that, in her words, “I can have some alone time with our son before you get there, and all you will talk about is Rabbi stuff.”

Yes, our son Leo stepped away from a career as the successful founder and Principal of an inner city Oakland, CA, elementary school conceived to give the largely Latino and Black population of the neighborhood a high quality academic foundation. As Principal Leo continually urged his students to be in touch with and to affirm their cultural roots. At age 42 he made the decision to deepen ties to his cultural roots by beginning the five year full time studies program to become a Reform Rabbi. It is mandatory to spend the first year of that study at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. His courses over the next four years will be in Los Angeles.

I look forward to joining Vickie in Israel where Pastor John Danner of Sanibel Congregational UCC church and I will lead a joint tour for our two congregations. As it turned out twenty Jews and twenty Christians registered for the trip.

I so look forward to showing them the Israel I love.

That said, Israel is a complex place. With hostile neighbors on each side, its security concerns are beyond anything most of us in North America can imagine.

Does that make everything Israel does in the name of security just, right and consistent with our religious values as freedom loving Americans today?

My personal answer is, “No it does not.”

But that is a much easier question for me to answer from the safety of Sanibel than it is for the residents of Sderot near the Gaza border.

That is why it means so much to me to help facilitate the opportunity for our congregants to see Israel first hand.

But security and the complex political situation of today are hardly the only reasons I am eager for this trip.

Israel — with a history that goes back to the Bible and technological advances that are blazing a trail into the future — is a marvel of modern civilization. But it is also a society of many complex contradictions, a society that we can begin to understand only when we see it with our own eyes.

I eagerly look forward to embracing those contradictions once again.


Nicholas is my Barber, but he is more than that. Each time I visit him at Tribeca Salon on Sanibel Island I receive not only a fine haircut but a thoughtful, common sense-laced discourse on events of the day and what is meaningful in life and what is not.

My most recent visit was particularly instructive. Nicholas spoke with passion — while his scissors never missed a beat — of the joy he finds in giving things away.

We spoke about several things: the upcoming interfaith trip to Israel that I am leading along with Pastor John Danner of Sanibel Congregational UCC. We talked about religious similarities and differences.

We agreed that “tolerance” as an interfaith goal was insufficient. We must strive for mutual understanding, respect and affirmation. We each can enrich our faith by understanding what most motivates others to practice theirs.

Nick noted that from all of his many customers, who often go on at length on a wide variety of subjects, he looks for the one insightful nugget that can add meaning and texture to his own life.

His words reminded me of the teachings of the second century Sage, Simeon ben Zoma, who taught : “Who is wise? The one who learns from everyone.” (Pirke Avot 4:1)

When he finished my last haircut, he said to my surprise: “Instead of paying me today, give the money to someone you meet in Israel who needs it.” I said I would pay him and also give the money to someone in Israel who needs it, but Nicholas would not accept the money.

So, I gave him a copy of my new book, … And Often the First Jew that I signed this way:

For Nicholas–

A philosopher and humanitarian

Who also cuts my hair,

And teaches me valuable lessons

Each time I’m in his chair.

Earth Day Thoughts

Take good care of it; it’s the only one we’ll get (Midrash, Kohelet Rabbah, ch. 7)

April 22, 2019, Earth Day

The world initiated Earth Day in 1970. Great idea! It makes us more conscious of how we care for our environment. Hopefully it also reminds us that we must do a better job than we are doing.

But forgive me if, as Jew I feel a bit smug, because we have had our “Earth Day” for at least 1800 years. It is called Tu B’Shevat.

Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat falls mid-winter. It is first mentioned in the Mishnah (the first post-biblical code of Jewish law compiled between c. 200 BCE and 200CE) as “the New Year for trees. or that long it has been our people’s de facto Earth Day.

A famous Midrash teaches when God finished creating the world, the Almighty addressed humanity, saying, “You are in charge of and are responsible for this earth. But it is the only one you will get. So preserve and enhance it. Do not pollute or destroy it” (Kohelet Rabbah, Chapter 7). Sound advice for us today.

In the late eighties when then Tennessee Senator Albert Gore, Jr. began his campaign of environmental awareness (which led to his receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2007), he asked me to prepare “a closing homily” for the first meeting of the initiative held in Nashville, the city where I then served as rabbi. On that occasion, I related a venerable Hasidic story told in many different ways about a magnificent goat that lived long ago. The goat had horns so long and beautiful that when he lifted his head, he could touch the stars, and they would sing the most beautiful melody that anyone had ever heard.

One day, a man was walking through the forest thinking of what he might give his wife for her birthday. He encountered the goat, and a brilliant idea jumped into his head. “I could make my wife a gorgeous jewelry box from a piece of one of the goat’s horns,” he thought.

The man approached the goat, which was very tame and friendly, and explained, “I want to make a jewelry box from just a small piece of one of your horns. It won’t hurt when I cut it off, and I’ll just take a small piece. You won’t even miss it!” The goat lowered his head to accommodate the man’s request.

The jewelry box that the man fashioned was indeed beautiful, and his wife adored it. Proudly, she showed it to all of her friends who soon wanted one just like it. You can see where this is going. Soon the goat was inundated with requests to “cut off just a small piece” of one of his horns. Of course, soon his horns were much shorter. The goat could no longer reach the stars, and that most beautiful melody was forever silenced.

This wonderful tale teaches one of the vital lessons of Genesis’ Creation story. We, human beingsnot the crocodile, the elephant nor the lion, though they are stronger, faster, and fiercerare in charge of, and responsible for, this world. Therefore, if we are to pass on a beautiful and healthful environment to our children and grandchildren, we must do a much better job than we are doing now of taking care of it.

What is the best way to celebrate Earth Day? Study and heed the lessons our Sages taught nearly 2000 years ago.

(Much of this essay is excerpted from my book, What’s in It for Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives, pp.2-3. It is available on

A Rabbi Reflects on Good Friday

(With special thanks to my good friend, Rev. Dr. John H Danner for his review and critique of this essay)

Many years ago, my family vacationed in the Ozarks, and I took my nine-year-old son Leo to see the Passion Play performed on the estate of the late Gerald L.K. Smith.

What a magnificent and costly production! Live horses, camels, even elephants cavorted across the huge amphitheater stage. When Pontius Pilate protested to the Jewish masses that he found no fault with Jesus, the Jewish leaders shouted, “Crucify him!”

Then Pilate washed his hands and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.”

“Crucify him,” the Jewish leaders screamed again. “His blood be upon us and upon our children!”

As we left the vast and magnificently kept grounds of the estate, Leo turned to me and asked, “Did we really crucify Jesus, Daddy?”

“No, my son,” I answered,” we did not.”

“If we didn’t,” he responded, “who did?”

Crucifixion, I pointed out, was a Roman, not a Jewish, method of execution, and I do not believe that the Roman governor would allow his subject Jews to convince him to do anything that he did not wish to do.

“More important,” I said to my son, “neither you, I nor any of the Jewish people who have lived for the past 2,000 years were there, let alone involved.”

Times have changed

The anti-Semitic Passion Play, after years of diminishing attendance, saw its last performance in 2012. I continue to cherish the invitation of my good friend, Rev. Steve Hancock in 1996 to speak from the pulpit of the Second Presbyterian Church of Nashville on Good Friday. And this year Rev. Dr. John Danner and Rev. Deborah Kunkel will spend part of their Good Friday, after their own services at Sanibel Congregational UCC, as welcome guests and participants in the Passover Seder of Bat Yam Temple of the Islands.

These wonderful realities of Good Fridays present stand in stark contrast to Jewish memories of Good Fridays past. Good Friday was once a day when Jews hid for fear that Christians would attack them. In some places Christian authorities compelled Jews to attend Good Friday worship to listen to readings and preaching about their guilt and stubbornness for not accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

On Good Friday I feel the weight of Jewish history as at no other time. I close my eyes and see the victims of Good Friday pogroms. I hear voices of those killed over the years for no reason except that they clung to their Jewish faith. I hear their voices crying out to me, “Do not betray us!”

On one of my trips to Jerusalem, I walked slowly along the Via Dolorosa with a Palestinian Christian Guide who explained the 14 Stations of the Cross and that on Good Friday 40,000 pilgrims jam the road to Golgotha to identify with the significance of the crucifixion.

Although I am not a Christian, I am moved by Luke’s** account of Jesus’ utterances from the cross. Beaten, mocked, scourged, crucified and near death, Jesus exclaims, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24) Would that we all could display such compassion to those who have wronged us.

What I find most remarkable about Luke’s account of Jesus on the cross is his absolute immunity to public opinion. Whether the crowds were with him or against him, Jesus did not alter his course.

A week before his death, Jesus threw the crowds into a frenzy of ecstasy. The next week his own disciples denied knowing him. Such abandonment would devastate an ordinary person, but Jesus remained unshaken. Would that we all had that kind of courage of our convictions.

Make no mistake. Jesus is not the messiah for Jews that his is for Christians.

There are profound theological differences between our faiths. I have no desire for us to become one religion, but I have an intense desire that we learn to accept and respect our religious differences and appreciate the values we can learn from one another.

Years of history have blinded Jews to the meaning and inspiration even non-believers can find in Christian Scripture. Years of history have blinded Christians to the richness of the Jewish heritage from which Christianity sprang. If we have not yet done so, let us, as Good Friday moves into Passover, remove our cataracts and behold the beauty and wisdom we can find in another’s faith.

**I recall with gratitude the learning I gleaned from the Seminar I audited on Luke at Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1996, with the permission of Professor Amy Jill-Levine,