Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Sept. 13-14: The Western Wall of the ancient Jewish temple packed with people praying and sometimes placing petitions to God on tiny scraps of paper that they insert between the wall’s huge stones.
In 1989 Thomas Boehm stood there and asked two questions: “Who are you, God? And who am I?” Black-clad orthodox Jews surrounded him, swaying and bobbing in prayer. Thomas sang a single line of Jewish prayer that he’d memorized in the synagogue as a child: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is God. The Lord alone.” He sang it over and over, losing himself in the melody and rhythm.
Like a GPS fixing coordinates, he suddenly saw his life as a point in the broad sweep of history, part of an ancient yet living past. Boehm had arrived at the wall a 20-something kid from America. He left as a Jew. And five years later, in 1994, he became a Jewish Christian.
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