Over the weekend, the promenade at Tiberias has been thronging with Arab families, celebrating the end of Ramadan. While not all Moslems fast for the month, many do, and I could see how some of the staff at the Hotel really suffered during the August heat, not even able to take a sip of water from dawn until sunset – a long time. So there was none of my usual Arabic coffee at the Maintenance Office, where Ahmed hopes to go on the Haj this year!
The end of Ramadan coincide this year with Rosh haShana, the Jewish New Year. Someone gave me a jar of honey, and I cut up apples to dip into the honey, which is typical for this time of year, a desire that the year to come will be a good and sweet one. Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement, the most holy day in the Jewish year follows ten days later, and these 10 days are called the yamim nora’im, the ‘terrible days’ as someone translated it, or the ‘Days of Awe’. This is a time for introspection, to look at where you are and where you are going in life’s journey. It is also a time to reflect on mistakes made, those whom we may have offended and those who may have offended us, so there is an air of forgiveness and reconciliation. A friend of mine says that Tiberias has a special atmosphere during these days, and I have certainly noticed an air of goodwill. If only it would continue..!
It is always good to witness the festivals of other faith groups, and I always feel there is much to learn from them as Christians.