On Saturday, March 17, 2012, members of the Jerusalem and Jaffa kehillot gathered in Ein Karem for a day of prayer and study in order to prepare for Easter.

About 50 members of the Jerusalem and Jaffa kehillot gathered on a cold day, Saturday, March 17, 2012, in the convent of the Sisters of Sion in Ein Karem for a day of prayer and study in order to prepare for Easter. The animator of the day was Father Rafic from the Jerusalem kehilla who organized the lectures, directed the prayers and gave a general direction to the day.

After morning prayer, Benedetto from the Vicariate community gave a lecture for about an hour. The theme he chose was the story of the binding of Isaac as seen in contemporary Hebrew poetry. In the fascinating lecture he touched on many interesting subjects: What is poetry? What is contemporary Hebrew culture? He surveyed the developments in Jewish intellectual life: the Haskala, Zionism and post 1967 critique of Zionism. After reading the narrative of the binding of Isaac in Genesis (22:1-14), he analyzed six poems that deal with the subject of the binding – poems by Isaac Lamdan, Hayim Gouri, Benjamin Galai, Yehuda Amihai, Hanoch Levin and Raya Harnik. He showed how a rereading of the Book of Books consolidates a society and an identity. Such a literary reading opens our eyes to meanings of the Word of God that we might not have noticed beforehand.

After the lecture, he proposed some questions for discussion but first each one was invited to take a time of quiet and reflection in order to formulate his or her own answer to the questions before the discussion in small groups.

At lunch time, there was the opportunity to talk together and exchange news.

In the afternoon it was the turn of Sister Anne-Catherine from the community of the Religious of Sion who lectured on the subject of the Jewish Passover and its meanings for the Jewish people and for us as Christians. She discussed each one of the Biblical symbols of Passover: the Passover lamb (Pessah), the unleavened bread (Matsah) and the bitter herbs (Maror).

During the day, Father Piotr and Matthias from the Vicariate community helped occupy the children.

In the course of the afternoon there was a time to pray in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and at the end of the day, a festive mass was celebrated during which one and all could thank God for this opportunity to prepare more deeply for the coming Feast of the Resurrection.