Tantur Ecumenical Institute Newsletter: July-August 2016
Dusty Summer Blessings
by Dan Koski, Tantur Staff
This summer, Tantur had dust everywhere. Everywhere. In offices. In hallways. In rooms. On our vehicles. On every bench. On every branch on every tree, on every flower. For a while, the joke was that we were all seeing life through an “Instagram” filter.
The reason for this predicament was not entirely our fault. First, July and August, especially August, is generally dusty in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Second, the highway expansion project that has been edging to the southern edge of Jerusalem finally reached the western perimeter of our property about a year ago. A tremendous mound of sand, visible from the hilltops of Bethlehem, has been created to the immediate west of the center of our campus along the eastern side of the expanded highway, and our famed afternoon hilltop breeze has done its part to share the wealth.
Lastly, to use a Midwestern American proverb, we made hay while the sun shined, and used the break between the end of our July program and the start of our autumn sabbatical to add to the inevitable mess by making a bit of our own by undertaking several interior renovation projects, painting a good number of rooms and retiling a hallway in one of our residential wings across the facility. We also completed a new exercise facility, and decided to tackle some repairs on one of our rooftops.
It wasn’t the easiest return from summer holidays for our staff, especially as we had our first autumn guests set to arrive even before the start of September, but everyone did their part, and we made it through.
We still haven’t figured how to wipe off the dust on the flowers and tree branches, but from the looks of it, Mother Nature may bring rain sooner than later this year. We’ve delayed harvesting our olives in the hope that the first shower of rain does come early. Even construction on the new retaining wall on our western hillside has begun, and much of the noisier, heavier road construction has already moved farther south of us.
The cool evening weather has begun, and even a few light jackets and sweatshirts have been spotted on campus.
All things under heaven pass; even in Jerusalem!