During my visit to Israel, ahead of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion conference in Austria, I spent two days as the guest of the Sisters of the Rosary in the village of Ein Karem. This is the place traditionally associated with the ‘hill country of Judea’ to which the Virgin Mary went in haste after her interview with the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:39) where she learned of her own and her relative Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy. Here it was then that the two pregnant women, one old, one young, met carrying in their own bodies the infant bodies of John the Baptist and Jesus. So much of my daily prayer life began in these environs, the Magnificat and the Canticle of Zechariah.
While exploring the area I found this poem posted on an exterior wall in an alley way written in Hebrew and English.
Sometimes to reach heaven above
You have to descend
And the valley spread before you
Shall appear as an ancient wonder
From the book of Genesis.
The grass and the colorful flowers
Will seem to you as holy letters
In the handwriting of God
While the wind will guide your heart to the words
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”.
And a young Yemenite shepherd girl
With seven white goat kids dancing around her
Decorate each biblical verse
With dark eyes, golden flute and curls..
by Shoshana Bakarsi