Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Synagogue

The former Jewish synagogue is now a library and cultural center, and there was some hope we could hold a class in there (it was not to be). It’s a beautiful building architecturally, with Corinthian columns and vaulted ceilings. One part museum, it is filled with artifacts of the early part of last century, and an olfactory experience, with its smell of old books in the stacks.

It now serves as a library and cultural center, and although we didn’t get the opportunity to hold any classes or workshops there, we did spend some time individually and as a group to pray in the garden, sketch, and take photos. The wall of names is especially sobering—all those who were deported to the death camps. Each year there is a memorial event for these, and we wonder if at some point in the future we could do something as part of that event.

Next door is where Arnold and his family live, so we have a chance to peek in each day and remember the significance of the place we're in--geographically, historically and spiritually. Across the street is the former high school, and many of these old houses were the houses and shops of the Jewish people of Baja.
I spend a few minutes on our last day there, taking a deep breath, preparing for our evening event, and seeing if I can find any info in English. No luck, on any score. Someone finds me soon enough, cell phone in hand, and we have to organize some logistics. All literature in the library is in Hungarian, and I have no translator to ask for English info. Oh well. Maybe next year.

For we do hope to come back. This has been probably one of the most straining of outreaches. ‘Pioneering’ at any age is as grueling as it is exciting, but driving a stake in this ground really defined the word. And every age of our team--from 18 to 60, is feeling the pain. Heat, walking, enormous amounts of carbs with virtually no veggies or fruit, sleep deprivation, the language and cultural barriers, four cultures…challenges have abounded, all typical of overseas work. But this is the dream team—barely a word of complaint, no whining, just a continual pressing in. Thank you team!

Onto dinner…no doubt more heaping portions of the four major carbohydrate groups…

PS: having a terrible time with very slow connections and uploading photos is a chore, so sorry I'm not posting more. Maybe our next location will be better.

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