Post written by Sophie Anne Marie van Goethem, Master in Management Current Student
“Has the like of this happened in your days or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell theirs and their children the next generation!“
(1 JOEL, 2-3)
As we arrived to the Yad Vashem holocaust museum I read these words and thought about how my grandfather used to tell us his stories from the war; about the rescue missions they used to undertake in order to save the lives of both Jews as well as other persecuted personalities. And as a young kid I really lived these stories. Still a year ago I was listening to my grandmother and imagining myself in a hospital where they’d hide Jews and organize missions of the Dutch resistance. There my grandparents met each other and the romance started. Regardless the war, people’s daily lives carry on. And that is something we have witnessed the rest of the day while visiting the old city.
This area is enclosed by thick walls and consists of four quarters: the Armenian, Christian, Muslim and Jewish. Jerusalem’s sacredness is shared by the three monotheistic religions, and as such creates a tension on who has the right to each holy site. Mount Olive is being said to be the place on earth closest to god, and although all religions have access, the Muslims have a superior right to do their prayers there. On the other hand within the Christian religion there is also a lot of discussion when it comes to the Church of Holy Sepulcher there have been many disputes over time between the different groups.
The sun has set and we make our way to have an authentic Shabath dinner with a Jewish family. They have invited us to their home to tell us their story and motives for immigrating to the Promised Land. We in turn talk about where we come from and how much we have enjoyed our stay in Israel. It was amazing to experience their heartwarming family spirit, participate in their prayers and taste the different types of food and wine. However I cannot let go of some of my thoughts.
I have done my fair share of travelling and have had the opportunity to get to know each of the monotheistic religions in a positive way. Therefore I keep wondering why in this sacred city they find it so hard to tolerate each other and share the various holy sites. This constant tension is in stark contrast to what we see at IE Business School where people from different religions and cultures come together in an incredible melting pot. We work together, we party together, we live together and we travel together no matter our nationality or religion. Imagine the whole world like that. Shalom.
As we ended our day with an amazing Sabbath dinner hosted by a Jewish family we got a bit more familiar with the Jewish way of life. The hospitality with which we are being received is heartwarming. It feels good to have a bit of the taste of this traditional family feeling, something that is less common in Europe. I start to wonder how it can be, that I have very positive experiences with each of the three monotheistic religions, but that they have such a hard time tolerating one another and sharing the holy city of Jerusalem.
At IE Business School we have the luck to witness an even greater diversity and our campus proves to be an amazing melting pot. I think that in Madrid we are very blessed with the way we work together, party together, live together and travel together, no matter where we come from or what we believe.