Tantur Ecumenical Institute Newsletter, Sept.-Oct. 2015
A New View–for Now
Written by Dan Koski, Tantur Staff
Late in the month of October, we received the call that we had been waiting for: the Jerusalem municipality was going to begin their highway expansion project on the western side of our property.
Regardless of the reasons why walls are built, these walls often are meant to define something as much as they are to protect it. Perhaps it is more accurate to note that in the Holy Land, the very act of definition is often a measure taken to protect something. So it is with Tantur’s wall, built to define our property and to protect it therein. Yet as neighbors of Bethlehem, we are also painfully aware of how walls can be a part of a process of separation of peoples. Perhaps this is one reason why Tantur has also tried so hard to keep physical as well as spiritual and philosophical points of access open for all to come to, and through, us.
The wall of Tantur is being rebuilt following the completion of construction, and with it, a bit more quiet and sense of definition will return to our hill. Yet we do often wonder whether the day will come in our lifetime when no walls are needed at all.
Being the communications and marketing director at Tantur comes with the added responsibility of documenting a good amount of concerns with our facility, so it meant that part of a pleasant sunny morning was spent with a colleague taking photos of what remains of the stone wall that runs along the expanse of our western slope. For those of you who have been to (or driven past) Tantur since the winter of 2012-2013, you will know that a sizeable section of the wall collapsed after a winter storm. Now the rest of this section has come down as the highway is set to expand.
For good or ill, walls are part and parcel of the Holy Land. People have been building them for almost as long as people have been here. Every culture, every civilization, has left walls as part of its historical imprint on the Holy Land.