Jeff Goldberg attended a Christmas Eve service at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem’s Old City and describes the welcome offered by the German Lutherans to Goldberg and other Jewish visitors here. Unfortunately, that also seems to have meant that the proclamation of the gospel (“proselytizing”) was off-limits.
But the second paragraph of Goldberg’s post was more interesting to me as it describes how people of different religious and ethnic communities do tend to get along:
James Snyder, the director of the stunningly re-imagined and reinvigorated Israel Museum (which I will write about later) brought us to the service, and whispered to me — when I took note of all the various incongruities — that “the dirty little secret of Jerusalem is that it is a fully-functioning intercommunal city.” I think this is true. Yes, there are terrifically difficult issues (not least of which is the seizing of several Arab homes by Jewish settlers eager to make their presence felt in Arab neighborhoods), but this city is so much more complicated than news accounts would suggest. Earlier yesterday, I took one of the junior (and under-the-weather) Goldblogs to a local medical clinic for a strep test. The clinic, called Terem, is well-known in Jerusalem in part because it was started by a physician named David Applebaum, who was killed in the September 9, 2003 terrorist bombing of a cafe in the Germany Colony neighborhood, along with his daughter Naava, who was scheduled to get married the next day. The physician who saw my son at Terem, like many of the clinic’s physicians, is an Arab from East Jerualem. In Terem, and at Hadassah Hospital, and the other hospitals in town, Jews treat Arabs, Arabs treat Jews, and no one thinks twice about it. No one who lives here, I mean. For visitors (even one, like myself, who once lived in Jerusalem), these sorts of commonplace facts of life — Germans praying in Hebrew, Arab physicians treating Jews in a clinic founded by a terror victim, and on, and on — can be astonishing. Merry Christmas.