י״א באלול ה׳תשע״ט (September 11, 2019) A Jew in Church by Sara Hoffman
Since I live in a predominantly Christian community I always thought I knew everything when it came to Christianity, but spending a day visiting influential sites of Christianity in Jerusalem opened my eyes and my mind to so many things I didn’t know I never knew.
We started off our tiyul in the Church of the Visitation. Before entering, our teacher described the meeting of Miriam (Mary) and Elisheva (Elizabeth). Once we passed through the church’s gates, my eyes darted to the statues of two women whom I instantly identified as Miriam and Elisheva from our teacher’s story. Directly above the statues of the two women were countless translations of the Magnificat prayer. I was awestruck by the number of different languages, which signified how people from drastically different backgrounds were able to connect because of their common religion.
Later we learned how baptism originated from the Jewish custom of mikveh. I found it so intriguing to learn how the start of Christianity came from practices of Jewish people.
I have to admit I felt a bit out of place when we visited the Church of The Holy Sepulchre, but I was so grateful for the opportunity to view such a masterpiece. I value learning all aspects of a topic, and in the modern day I believe it’s important to know where theological differences and conflicts stem from. For that reason, I can say I enjoyed my one day of being a Jew in church.