Friday, April 11, 2008
Looking for Convivencia: I Left My Heart in Cordoba
Timelessness happens in Cordoba. The stones of the small, and simple synagogue were cool to the touch. I could feel their roughness surrounding my back and shoulders as I huddled in a corner. This was not the site of a destroyed synagogue, or one 'built over' by a church. It was really still here. One of the Hebrew verses at the top of the North Wall, a plaque told us, was from Psalm 27:4, "one thing have I asked of God, one goal do I pursue: to dwell in the The Eternal's house throughout my days, to know the bliss of The Sublime, to visit in God's temple." The coarse broad stones held me up as the tears flowed. The Psalm in the synagogue of these Medieval Jews who lived The Convivencia, the people who translated the Greeks into Arabic, and from Arabic into Hebrew, who read Arabic love poems, is the same Psalm we recite today every day in the month leading up to the High Holidays in the Fall. A few feet away the guide was saying something to the rest of the group. It was a distant drone.
I was with my people, connected by this spare and humble building, feeling their prayers still inhabiting the space. Were any of my ancestors among them? Or was it a past life? I know I was here before. It was home.