I think I have mentioned that we live right in front of a stop of the Jerusalem Light Rail. We can see the tracks from our window. Here is a picture of the tracks on Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath.
Yep, since the train doesn’t run on the Day of Rest, people park their cars on the tracks! Also, kids play soccer on the tracks, people walk on the tracks, and some non-observant people who drive on Saturdays actually drive on the tracks!
On a related topic, I wrote another post for YoungCatholicWomen.com this week about what Christians can learn from Shabbat-observant Jews. It’s called “I’m Bringing Sabbath Back.” Read the post.
Also, if you missed it this week, I created a video with some of the best moments from the Purim festival we attended last weekend. Watch closely and you’ll see one of the lovely ladies from Wordless Wednesday nearly take a tumble from her stilts!
This week’s recipe comes from the new cookbook I mentioned last week: the The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden. This is our first time trying a recipe from the book and it was amazing! It’s Sheikh el Mahshi Banadoura, or Tomatoes Stuffed with Ground Meat, Raisins and Pine Nuts, from page 319.
1. Chop the onion, the raisins and the parsley. Cut a circle around the stalk end of the tomatoes and cut out a cap from each.
2. Remove the seeds and pulp* with a small spoon.
(*Save the tomato guts in a jar in the refrigerator, because we’re going to use them in next week’s recipe!)
3. Fry the chopped onion in oil until golden. Add the meat, salt and pepper. Stir and mash the meat until it turns gray, then brown.
4. Stir in the raisins (or currants) and the pine nuts (or walnuts), and add cinnamon, allspice, and chopped parsley.
5. Fill the tomatoes with this mixture and cover with their tops. Put them close to each other in an oven-safe dish.
6. Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft, being careful that they do not fall apart. Serve hot. Serves 4-8. Enjoy!
A Spanish priest that I sometimes tutor in English has lent me a book by Archbishop Fulton Sheen called The Eternal Galilean. Archbishop Sheen, a religious leader with a refreshingly modern take on the Catholic faith, who was in the public eye as a radio and television personality in the 60s and 70s, is now a Servant of God, which is the first stop on the road to sainthood. The book is beautiful; it tells the story of the life of Christ in a series of essays talking about different aspects of his life: “The Artisan of Nazareth,” “The Light of the World, “The Cross and the Crucifix,” “Eternal Life.” View the book on Amazon. I’m only about halfway through it, but I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s a pretty easy read, with a lot of good things to think about, and the essays are just the right length to sit and read in one sitting. Here’s an interesting bit to ponder, from Chapter V, “The Way, The Truth and The Life:”
“There is a general tendency in our day to frown upon those who believe that Our Blessed Lord is different from other religious leaders and reformers. It is even considered a work of intelligence to rank Him along with the founders of world religions. Hence it is not uncommon to hear one who prides himself on his broad-mindedness — which gives offense to no religion, and a defense of none — fling out a phrase in which Buddha, Confucius, Lao-tsze, Socrates and Christ are all mentioned in one and the same breath; as if Our Lord were just another religious teacher instead of religion itself…Take any of them, Buddha, Confucius, Lao-tsze, Socrates, Mohammed — it makes no difference which… They all said: ‘I will point out the way’; but Our Lord said ‘I am the Way.’”
Our house is filling up with books lent to us by the various Legionaries of Christ that work at our church. I volunteer with a lot of projects there, and this is one of the ways they thank me: by lending us books. Also, our church has a very cool exhibition on the Shroud of Turin, and Rodolfo has taken a very particular interest in the exhibition. One of the fathers encouraged this interest by lending Rodolfo four books on the Shroud’s history in German and Italian (two languages Rodolfo speaks fairly, but not fluently). Another good one, which Rodolfo is working through this Lent, is called The Better Part, by Father John Bartunek, also a Legionary. View the book on Amazon. The priests at our church here are all very intelligent, very well-read, and very international. They each speak several languages and come from all over the world. I think it’s very nice of them to lend us all these books; it’s kind of like they’re inviting us to be a part of their circle, to learn the things they know. But we have a lot of homework and a lot of reading to do!
Some readers out there will be very excited to hear that we have decided to embark on the Jesus Trail journey this coming weekend! We will be walking from Nazareth to Magdala, around 40 km or 25 miles, in three days with a group of friends from our church, including the priest featured in the video from last time. So it’s not quite the whole thing, but a very good introductory pass. Please pray for us!
Apparently, spring has sprung in the Holy Land (even though it got cold again after last week’s glorious weather). The way that you can tell that spring has returned, apparently, is because the swifts, large birds with split tails similar to barn swallows, have returned in a large migration from their winter home in Africa. And they have made their nesting home, as they do every year, in between the stones of the Western Wall! Read an article about this phenomenon.
I wrote this to all of you in my first post on this blog: “This is my love letter, my epistle, my open book for all of you. I am your eyes, your ears, your nose, your mouth, and your hands and feet on the ground in the Holy Land. Tell me what you want to see, to feel, to hear, to taste, to touch, and to learn, and I will bring it to you here.” So now it’s your turn! Please tell me in the comments or by email what you would like to see, hear or learn more about in the Holy Land and I will try my best to find it for you!
Have a wonderful week!