It started when I (Seth) thought about going to a summer retreat sponsored by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. After having completed the Clergy Leadership Program a few years ago, I had not had the opportunity to participate in any subsequent retreats. Since it was to take place near where his parents live, I thought I would possibly take their younger son, or both kids, to visit their grandparents.
Then, Yohanna expressed interest in the retreat and the idea formed of taking a family trip to the east coast from the Pacific Northwest.
Then, since we are up for adventure, we thought, what if we drive there, rather than fly?
Then, if we are driving, we thought, what else would we like to do and see?
Then, in thinking of the times we are living in right now, the age of our kids and what they can learn and experience, what we want to learn more about and witness, and what seems important right now, we decided to head south to see the important sites of the civil rights movement.
Then, in mapping out that route, we thought, what else it is important to see in reflecting on justice, on the history of our country, and on the challenge of the present moment? So we added a visit to a WWII Japanese internment camp, the US Holocaust Museum in DC (specifically the new exhibit on “American and the Holocaust”), a Trail of Tears site, and others.
We called this trip chronicle, “Two Rabbis Cross America” because we are two rabbis, and we are literally crossing America, from the west coast to the east coast and back again. But we are also “crossing” in the sense of challenging, of confronting, of looking at the negative aspects of our history to learn from our past to improve our future.
(And, yes, we will have some fun too, eat good food, visit family, and explore the natural beauty that surrounds us.)
We plan to post pictures and reflections from the journey, so you are invited to come along.