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Shifting Sands

Posted January 20th, 2011 at 12:55 PM by chas

“Hear O Israel
The Lord our God,
The Lord is One!”
--Opening Jewish invocation

“Thou shalt not kill.”
--Mosaic Commandment

I am a Jew; by birth if not by religious training. Getting off a Greek cruise ship to step for the first time onto the Holy Land, if only for an afternoon in Jerusalem, felt special. At customs, a beautiful slim, dark haired young woman in a green army uniform looked bored. I tried my only world of Hebrew—“Shalom” (‘Peace’), the universal greeting (Arabic: ‘Salaam’). Suddenly she transformed into a person, right before my eyes. “Shalom,” she replied, smiling, eyes sparkling with welcome. That’s better. She stamped not my passport, but a small separate yellow piece of cardboard I’d filled out with my I.D. info back on the ship, the size of a passport page. This was official, yet not being attached to the passport, could be easily hidden away, so that I could have plausible deniability...

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