I found this religious news story at the following link: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/03/21/jews-trek-to-the-mojave-desert-for-a-visceral-passover/. The article explained an interesting way that some Jewish people celebrate the Passover. A group of Jews, ranging from children to elderly folks, spend four nights and five days in the Mojave Desert to recreate their escape from bondage in Egypt 3,000 + years ago.
I found this article particularly fascinating because throughout the semester, we have been learning about a lot of different religious practices that are symbolic or representative of past events. However, this group is attempting to go through what their ancestors went through, or “live in their shoes”, in order to try to experience what hardships they faced. I think that the Jewish religion, in general, does a good job of trying to recreate past times and live like their predecessors did. I did my daily topic presentation on the Contemporary Jewish Beliefs, and I showed a Youtube video about Sukkot, which is also known as The Feast of Tabernacles. Here, they build temporary shelters where they live as their ancestors did in the wilderness. It is really neat to me that they do more than just learn about these stories; they have festivals and celebrations where they experience what they read.
I think that the event that is explained in the article is a very good idea. I think that this event is providing a great religious experience and allows people to experience what has happened in their Holy text as opposed to just merely reading the words. The article states that being stranded in a desert with strangers can surprisingly result in very strong bonds and friendships. I think this is because they are all there because of something bigger than themselves, so they work together as a community so that each person’s experience can be the best that it could possibly be.
This relates to what we have studied in our class because it shows the situations that people will put themselves through in order to practice their religion and attempt to become more secure in their beliefs. They will go to extreme lengths in order to grow deeper in their faith and search for the truth. The Jews who participate in this Passover/camping celebration are basically traveling back in time and trying to reconstruct stories that are central to their religion. They do not celebrate holidays just because “it is what the Jews have always done”. The Jewish religion is one that requires much involvement.
More denominations should have events like the Jews are, especially if they are Christians take the Bible literally and not metaphorically. Knowing that the Jewish people create large events like this makes me respect them even more than I already do. I think that it displays to the community how serious and strong they are in their faith. They are taking time out of their hectic daily lives to remember the past and recognize that they have come from a long history of oppression in order to get to where they are today. They aren’t selfish and wrapped up in their religious freedom that they have today-they realize that many innocent lives have been lost in the past due to cruelty towards their religion and what they are doing is courteous to those who have come before them.