Tuesday, September 22, 2009

End of Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, and the Pilgrimage of Time and Seasons

Last year around this time I was in the Holy Land, observing the pilgrimage of time, of seasons, in the life of two major world religions: Ramadan among my friends who are Muslim, and Rosh Hashanah for my Jewish friends. What I especially remember is being caught up in the sweep of women racing to the Dome of the Rock toward the end of Ramadan. Because many women have a major role, traditionally, in preparing the house and food for the occasion, they were streaming through the Damascus Gate of Old Jerusalem toward the Western Wall area.

The next day was Rosh Hashanah: Again, standing near the Damascus gate, I was not ready for the influx of men racing to the Western Wall, some with children on either hand running quickly, trying to keep up with their fathers.

'Tis the pilgrimage of seasons in the religious community that establishes many of the rituals of our lives.