My mother was a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia in 1938. She was a secular Jew and married a non-Jewish Englishman. Consequently I was never brought up as a Jew.
Instead, despite agnostic/atheist parents I found God at an early age and, having followed New Age spirituality in my teens and twenties, I became a member of the religion available to me in the small town where I live, which happened to be Christian. In fact it was the Anglican Church. After many years, I developed a deep, but relaxed, faith and meet regularly with Jews and Muslims as well as having a good Buddhist friend. I enjoy interfaith activities and the study of theology and comparative religion.
It was only once I had spent 3 months in Hebron in 2009 as an Ecumenical Accompanier with EAPPI, http://www.quaker.org.uk/eappi, that I began to uncover my Jewish roots and gain that identity alongside my Christian one. The result of this has been a venturing between Israel and Palestine, and Christianity and Judaism as well as a growing appreciation of Palestinian Islam. Islam like every other religion has different strands as well as being a product of different cultures, and it is important to recognise those diverse aspects of each and every religion and not to generalise.
I will also add that both my grandfather and mother were strongly anti-Zionist and I was brought up with a feeling of shame about the behaviour of Israel towards the Palestinians. Sadly my grandfather died when I was 4 years old and my mother just before my time in Hebron, although she knew I was going.
My grandfather was called Ernst Sommer. He was a writer and magistrate, was on the Nazi death list and escaped along with part of his family in 1938. In fact he is considered the first person to have written about the Holocaust. He wrote in German and I have recently re-published, as an e-book English translation, one of his novels.
This blog is still being created so please forgive the omissions and any mistakes.
This is not my first attempt at a blog. My original one, written after a previous visit to the ‘Holy Land’ can be found here: http://mirandagsp.blogspot.co.uk/