Seven brown habits make their way, through the Jaffa Gate, to the new entrance of the Tower of David Jerusalem Museum, in the Holy City. They are Franciscan friars from the Custody of the Holy Land, who have been invited for a guided tour of the Museum, which was inaugurated after its renewal in early June.
Gestures that speak
The friars were welcomed by the Director and Curator of the Tower of David Museum, Eilat Lieber, together with the heads of the different sections. It was a gesture to thank the Custody of the Holy Land for the collaboration in setting up the Museum, but also to show the face open to dialogue of the Museum, which ended up at the centre of the controversy for the hospitality (now withdrawn) for the lecture “Why do (some) Jews spit at Gentiles?” In Jerusalem, the topic of the attacks on Christians is topical, as a TV news report last Saturday showed, documenting several aggressions. “You are welcome here,” said Ms. Lieber. “As the Tower of David Museum we are committed to promoting understanding, dialogue and tolerance between the communities and the people of this city. We are convinced that culture has the power to build up understanding and dialogue. Jerusalem belongs to everyone.”
After a moment of dialogue and introductions, a guide accompanied the small and variegated delegation of friars – all from different countries – through the Museum’s rooms. The ones dedicated to the three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – represented the focus of the visit, together with the multimedia room which presents the festivities of the three religions with images and music. The Custody contributed for the part of the Christian festivities and for the liturgical songs. During the tour, which took place in a climate of great cordiality, the group also dwelled on some pieces that the Custody – through the Terra Sancta Museum – lent for the permanent exhibition.
Paths of dialogue
A delegation from the Tower of David Museum will be welcomed at St Saviour’s Convent next Friday, for a visit to the seat of the Custody. It is not only an exchange of courtesies, but also a desire for real reciprocal knowledge.