As the sun set in Tel Aviv this evening, Hands of Peace tour guides Yuval and Husam along with group leader Gretchen Grad introduced the fascinating complexities of the journey our group is about to embark upon. Travelers from California to Colorado to Texas to Illinois joined for dinner at the Dan Panorama hotel in Tel Aviv and “attempted” to follow along an overview of the region’s perceived borders between residing cultures as well as within the cultures themselves. What we were left with was that 1) no question should remain unspoken in the upcoming days, 2) the “simple” map of Israel/Palestine as sketched out is entirely redefined by “who” is describing the borders and 3) we all are about to experience a personally defining journey that will forever affect our lives and our hearts. For this opportunity I am personally grateful and feel blessed to walk throughout such a significant and historic area with an open mind and loving heart.
While construction of new buildings and styles are apparent on nearly every block you walk, the evident clash of old and new construction is overlooked by the dramatic visual contrast of steel versus stone and sharp lines of new construction softened by breathtaking graffiti located a few doors down. I hope with the continued growth of this area the charm of the surrounding art remains displayed and celebrated as it marks the living collage of humanity that resides in each one of us.