This morning, my email brought me a story in which the author delivered a sefer Torah, the long scroll used in synagogues, to a fledgling Reform community in Israel. The actual hand-off, which took place in an airport, involved some initial consternation:
I took the scroll from its box, passing it carefully to Yael Karrie, [the community’s] student rabbi . Amidst swarms of Orthodox Jews, we weren’t sure how a woman holding a sefer Torah would fare, but we needn’t have worried. No sooner did Yael take the scroll than an elderly woman, her head covered in a scarf, ran up to us, asking if she could kiss the Torah, exclaiming, “May it bring good things for the people of Israel!”
Without realizing it, the older woman crossed a divide simply by expressing the devotion she holds in her heart every day.
That story inspired the first sentence in a brief meditation I wrote from my own tradition (Christianity). I shared it on Facebook, and I share it with you here:
People can be wonderful. People can be horrible. The gospel story of Jesus’ birth contains evidence of both. One reason I follow my faith is that it, like many other faith traditions, assures us that wonderful wins. Or will. To all of you who celebrate it, have a blessed Christmas.
To all of you, may the coming year bring more divides crossed, more bridges built, and a deeper experience of the divine, whatever you conceive it to be.