Two Kinds of Tolerance
From the Gloria Hotel just inside the Jaffa Gate to the old city of Jerusalem, you can walk a block and be at the beautiful and inspiring Christ Church for Sunday morning evangelical Anglican worship. On Saturday morning a group of Messianic Jews celebrate Shabbat there, in Hebrew, but with English translation for visitors. Don’t be surprised if you see a small group of non-Messianic Jews in the street outside the church at either time, singing their own liturgy. Head toward the Wailing Wall and you can pass by a couple of small mosques, and an Arabic language Christian Missionary and Alliance Church. At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, you’re likely to find someone worshipping—Roman Catholics and various branches of Orthodoxy—Armenian, Greek, Ethiopic, Coptic and Syriac all take turns. At the Wailing Wall itself, you’ll find orthodox, even Hasidic Jews, dressed in traditional black garb, praying almost any time of the day or night, while above and beyond them, Muslims revere the Dome of the Rock and worship at the Al-Aqsa mosque. And there are still other small, old houses of worshipping dotting the old city and a quite new large, ornate Evangelical Lutheran Church in what was an empty plaza not many years ago.
“Tolerance” might not be one of the first twenty adjectives that would come to mind when someone said “Jerusalem.” Perhaps it should.
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