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Willa Is My God-daughter

I can't remember how many years ago this was, although it's probably at least twenty-odd, I would say. The Rt. Rev. Paul Moore Jr., bishop of the the New York diocese of the Anglican Church, an arch-liberal aristocrat of the Episcopal communion, commended Willa Brown to my care to assure her Christian education. I also can't recall his exact words. But they were stentorian and they echoed off the pillars and nave of the forever unfinished Cathedral of St. John the Divine like a commandment.   

Sam and Alison have made it unnecessary for me to step in as a defender of the faith that is not mine. Willa recently graduated from Oxford and, as I deduce from her occasional writings, she has been trying to live something of a Christian life. God bless her.

In any case, she traveled to Jerusalem and came across the phenomenon of the "Jerusalem syndrome," a certified form of madness in which sometimes perfectly sane men and women decide that they are Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mary Magdalene etc. By the way, Willa also noticed that there are in Jerusalem Muslim checkpoints through which non-Muslims cannot pass. What would silly Claire Messud say if she had come across these?

In any case, this blog of Willa's is about the Western Wall, its magic, and her celebration of the Sabbath with many other young Christians hosted by a rabbi and his family.

Long ago in my youth I heard a Yiddish folk song simply called, "Shabbes, shabbes, shabbes." Meaning "sabbath, sabbath, sabbath." And, then, in the early 70's, a Jewish opera diva came on aliya  (which means "ascent") to Israel and put into her repertoire this very song. "Shabbes, shabbes, shabbes. Zol zein tomid shabbes, shabbes oif der gantze velt." "Let it always be the sabbath, sabbath the world over."  Willa's entry helps you understand why.