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Jews On the Camino

ricksca

New Member
#1
I asked a friend of mine to join me on my planned pilgrimage in May. His reply after some study was that, while he is very attracted to the idea of pilgrimage, The Camino isn't his pilgrimage. He said that even though he would love the walk and the company, the essential Christian nature of it would require him to be constantly "reframing" everything. By that, I infer that he means translating all the iconography and liturgy into more universal terms that he would find less exclusive. I infer that, because it is exactly the process I have found myself engaged in since I decided to do the walk. I know that it has been designated a CULTURAL Itinerary by the Council of Europe, but its Christian heritage is undeniably strong.

So, what I'm looking for here isn't help reframing. I get that there are tons of people who walk this for all sorts of reasons with disparate backgrounds and beliefs. What I'm really curious about is what experiences non-Christians (especially Jews) have had actually walking the Camino.

I should mention that the religion of Judaism means very little to me. I'm not fond of any organized religion. Spiritual, but not religious, I guess you might say. But I still feel a little queasy when I find myself surrounded by too much Christianity.

I guess I should also mention before I draw too much negativity in my direction that i'm actually quite fond of Christ. It's just the church that I find somewhat off-putting. (Synagogues too, for that matter).
 

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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#2
Jews, Bugghists, Taoists, Hindus etc etc on the camino.

I am not Jewish so I can't answer your question. But, it did make me think about what people get out of walking trails that have the history and traditions of other religions.

If you walk the 88 temple Shikoku pilgrimage (Japan) you can stop at each temple, spin a prayer wheel, chant a mantra, sleep in the refuge and then move on to the next one. That doesn't make you a Buddhist just a pilgrim on a 1000 year pilgrimage old trail.

You can visit the Pyramids of Egypt, the Temples of Karnak, Luxor, Esan, Edfu, Kom Ombo and Ramses. This doesn't make you a devotee of Ra, Isis, Amun or Nut. You are just a pilgrim visiting an ancient places

Consider the camino an inner journey, with YOU being the pilgrimage. (You could walk 800km anywhere, on any continent so why not this one?) When you have done this one move on to the Abraham Path or any of the other hundreds of trails available to walkers today.

Everyone gets something different out of any long distance walk.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#3
Hi ricksca.

I read your post a few days ago. The subject caught my attention not only because of the intelligent way in which you expressed it but also because it struck familiar chords.

I thought I'd take some time to meditate more on it and organize the following, still tangential, thoughts.

I have a good, non-religious, Sephardic friend, with whom I've been speaking about doing a Camino de Santiago for some time. He’s a carbon copy of what you wrote about your friend, zero exceptions.

He’s told me that he would feel uncomfortable walking under the stars that spoused the suffering and banning of his people for so long.

I’ve shared with him that it may be time to clean up some karma and move on.

“Easier said than done,” he told me once, “when you haven’t had members of your family killed in a concentration camp.”

What can one say to that?

So this is going to be more about me.

Like you, I describe myself as a non-believer. Matter of fact, and to be precise, I lost the vestiges of my faith during the middle of a Camino Portugues, of all places, a couple of Decembers ago. It culminated with a long conversation I had with Don Genaro, whom I had met quite by chance in the cathedral's office, as the Oficina del Peregrino was closed. He had just been named prelate in charge of the Oficina. The rap lasted a couple of hours or so, the man was very nice, and that was that.

I mean, what can you reply to someone who tells you, serenely, that he has stopped believing in what he had been programmed all his life to profess?

Likewise, I also describe myself as "spiritual." I dunno why whenever I say that am not a believer, or religious, I always feel a need to qualify it by adding, "but I am spiritual." And really what does that mean? I know people that describe themselves as "spiritual" who are not very nice. On the other hand, I know many that don't talk about the subject either way and are about the most decent people around.

No matter, again, yes, I am "spiritual".

In any case.

The Caminos' Christian origins and overall religious history and reality, specifically Catholic, cannot and should not be denied even if it could. It's all over the Roads, in the religious sites, related architecture, art, cities that sprang as a result of the pilgrimages like Burgos, and so much more that attest to that. Yet, I don't have any problems in experiencing it when am walking the Paths, as a non-believer, taking it all in. As a matter of fact I really apreciate things like the litugy, for example, as well as listening to Gregorian chants, mass in diff languages, cantos llanos, and staying in monasterios, like at Venta de Baños, and Sobrado.

I may not believe in the institution and its religious pantheon and beliefs, anymore, but I am from that tradition, I was raised in it. Therefore, I relate to to it because it is a part of my identity, upbringing, system of values, attitudes, and world-views. It's a diff story with my Sephardic friend.

(Comes to mind another good friend who describes herself as a "red diaper baby." She no longer believes in the political philosophy she was raised in, but still feels that she has opinions that stemmed from it, because, after all, it was part of her process of social inculturation).

On the other hand I've walked with pilgrims that turned out to be friends to this day who avoided: churches, religious ceremonies, religious art, etc., as they encountered them along the Caminos. They had no problems in walking the Roads and enjoying them to the max, for reasons like the solitude, scenery, the fellowship with fellow-pilgrims, the physical exercise, and yes, the ubiquotuous "spirituality." But, they were Spaniards, and the whole Jacobean "tradition" or "myth," however one may want to call it, is imbued in their history. (See: http://muweb.millersville.edu/~columbus ... RENAS1.SPK).

I would love to make pilgrimages to religious sites in diff parts of the globe. “Spirituality” would be a driving force, as well as the desire to know other people and their cultures. Yet, I can imagine that at times I may be exposed to varied traditions and values that I would have objections to. So, prior to embarking on such voyages, I better be clear that they would not affect my pilgrimages adversely. I remember a retreat I made at a Bhuddist monastery in Kumming, China, years ago. Even though I was not knowledgeable about Bhuddism, I profited much from it and experienced no conflicts. At all. On the contrary, it enhanced my life a thousandfold.

But I believe that one has to be open to the experience, give yourself to it.

To me undertaking a pilgrimage is a response to something that tells you, “hey, I’ve got to do this.” Otherwise, I can’t see how one can go through the hardships that it entails.

My Sephardic friend has told me that he hasn’t heard “anyone/anything calling him,” except my encouragement.

I have let it go (well, for now).

We who have experienced the Camino and know of its agony/ecstasy, want to share it with everyone we know. I believe people need to hear that in a world with so much violence and negativity there are precious spiritual "adventures" to embark upon. Yes, "adventures", another important component in what our pilgrimages, are. Yet, in the years that have passed since I walked my first Camino and the many people I’ve talked about them with, not one that I know of has undertaken the journey as a result of our talks.

In the end for so many reasons, I believe that experiencing the Caminos de Santiago, or any other pilgrimages, is totally a personal decision.

Buen Camino 8)

xm
 
#4
This thread is five years old, but it makes more sense to add to it than to start a new thread on the same topic.

I am also Jewish and considering hiking the Camino. I've been doing long distance hikes since I was a kid and the Camino looks like a great hike in a part of the world I have never been to. The historical component of this route is also appealing to me.

However, the pilgrimage aspect, especially the Christian pilgrimage aspect, is not something that appeals to me. At all. I understand that pilgrimage technically refers to any journey to a religious site, but in practical usage it applies to believers traveling to to a site relevant to their religion. If I do the Camino, this is obviously not me.

I am not super religious, but I am more than just a cultural Jew. The proposed analogy earlier in the thread to traveling to Buddhist shrines is different, at least for me. Buddhism is consistent with my beliefs. Christianity, not so much. Like the OP said, I have no problem with Jesus Christ. I like his teachings a lot. It's a lot of his followers and their churches that I have problems with. Especially in the US, where I live, Christianity has too often been most vocally embodied by those with small-minded views and a narrow set of values aligned with right wing US politics and harboring an often bigoted mindset. Even with more open-minded Christians, I can understand that the common language of the Camino hikers is Christianity. I have no objection to that, but it's not my language.

I appreciate any thoughts on this topic.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#5
Shalom Quercus and Greetings from Jerusalem-חנוכה שמח
Beware! Saint James, the Camino. and Santiago de Compostela all easily become an obsession, one of the few good ones. I have walked to Santiago three times in the last three years and am planning on doing most of the Le Puy route this Spring. Why? First the fellowship and camaraderie shared with fellow pilgrims united in a special goal, secondly, the freedom the Camino grants-a no calendar, no real clock, no overbearing obligations, walking will become a form of meditation or yoga if you allow it, a journey through space and soul the best kind, spirituality? Your create own as you pass through some wonderful natural scenery as well as medieval architecture, art, and liturgy. Attend the pilgrim mass with your new friends you will find some similarities with the Jewish custom do and go forwardafter the service to receive the blessing, priests love to find a Jew in their Christian haystack but one is allowed to skip the bread and wine bit, read up on Spanish history on Christian architecture on religious art it will help you to better understand the amazing things you are about to experience (try The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago the Complete Cultural Handbook" written by David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson - two fellow Tartars of the Jewish persuasion will get you started right and will point out the few remaining Jewish remnants in northern Spain Najera-Astorga-Leon (Moshe de Leon author of the Zohar remember?) Buen Camino be ready to experience a life changing experience and do remember Saint James was/is one of our boys!
 

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#6
Hello,

I would be pleased to meet you on a Camino, since long distance walking is one of my favourite things.
I am a Catholic and have visited Christian, Muslim and Jewish countries. With walkers you talk the walking language. Blisters, miles etc. Don't worry.
And if you meet someone who talks in a narrow christian way to you, you choose to listen how narrow it sounds...don´t talk, keep silence... for half an hour or take your Way. I have met them too and don´t like to hear them talking too long....gives me a headache. Which I certainly don´t seek to get while I am in the most beautiful scenery :lol:

If I was a Jew and if not too, I would at least try to see some Sefardic history in Spain. Last year I was on the Camino the Madrid. On this Camino you pass Segovia with its Jewish history.. other important places in other caminos are Toledo and Oviedo. Oviedo is on the camino el salvador from Leon to Oviedo. There you would have a further link to another camino.
There is a guide from turespana-web: Jewish Spain.

And last but not least...If I met you on the Camino I would borrow you my music for a while so you could listen the Mor Karbasi music on it....something to share I would think. Isn´t it.
Have fun, don´t worry.
 
#7
We are more or less Catholic, but don't have the sense that the Camino -- despite its history -- is altogether Christian. It follows paths that are older than the Romans; it follows the Roman road as well. In September we met a delightful Jewish couple with their one-year-old; and one of the better recent books about the Camino is by a Jewish guy -- Gideon Lewis-Kraus, "A Sense of Direction." He's very entertaining and serious too. He describes his reasons for going on the Camino and his experiences. Along the way he met a Japanese woman who mentioned the 88 Temples of Shikoku, so he did that next, and then a very traditional Jewish pilgrimage in Uman. Buen Camino --
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide leading groups 2013-present
#8
While the Camino is in its origin and spirit a Catholic pilgrimage, many people walk for non-religious reasons. Some of these claim 'spiritual' reasons, some cultural, recreation, a love of long-distance walking. The important question, is what is it for you?

When I walked in Fall 2011, I met two Jews on the first day out of SJPP. One was a young Israeli boy who was walking the Camino for two months before beginning his stint in the Israeli army. He was grappling with some very big concerns, as he was more inclined to go to India and do yoga than become a fighter. The other was a woman in her sixties who was walking with three friends from Canada. She was there because she loved long-distance walking, and she naturally embodied the spirit of the Camino.

We arrived into Roncesvalles on a Friday, and my two new Jewish friends arranged to acknowledge Shabbat, as per their tradition. A group of us gathered outside behind the albergue, where we broke bread, drank wine, and listened to the beauty of the Shabbat prayers.

A few days later we arrived together into Estella on Rosh Hashanah. The hospitaleros at the parochial albergue said we could only use the kitchen if we cooked for and included everyone. So we (they) did, and we shared the New Year dinner with 30 of our multi-faith pilgrim friends. We had even picked up a Hindu girl from Delhi by then!

The point is, I think, that the Camino is as much if not more a 'human' community than it is just a Catholic one. It's the best place and the best way I know of to break down any walls that separate us, whether they are there because of religion, language, politics, gender, or smoking habits.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#10
The monastery at Roncesvalles has always been of major importance to the Camino. It was once one of the wealthiest on the entire route and was famous for the treatment which pilgrims received here. A 12th century poem sings the praises of the monastery´s legendary hospitality:

The door lies open to all, to sick and strong,
Not only to Catholics but to pagans too
Jews, heretics,
idlers, vagabonds,
In short, to good and bad, sacred and profane.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#11
My friends Pam and Franklin Stern have walked sections of the different Caminos about 7 times. Pam and I started amaWalkers Camino to take people on the Camino who might not have the confidence to do it alone.
In 2007 she and Franklin met a lovely German couple in Villafranca. They walked most of the way to Santiago together and they extended an invitation to their German friends to visit them if they ever got to Cape Town.
Two years later (after exchanging emails from time to time) the German couple told them that they would be visiting Namibia (formerley known aS German Southwest Africa) and would like to visit them in Cape Town afterwards. Pam and Franklin made the arrangements for them and picked them up from the airport on a Friday afternoon.
They said afterwards that they were a bit taken aback when the family arrived for Shabbat as they hadn't realised that Pam and Frankie were Jewish! They all marvelled at the ease with which people of different persuasions clicked on the Camino.
Where else could a Jewish couple meet a German couple and invite them to home for Shabat but on a Christian pilgrimage in Spain?
 

zammy

Active Member
#12
I hiked the Camino twice , starting from Le Puy. I am Jewish and from israel.I am not a religious person.
On the Camino I felt like an ambassador, both Jewish and Israeli. I came to realise that walking the camino with my fellow pilgrims means to me and them- sharing the camino. sharing the experience of walking on this old trail. It's a strong dialogue between us, Christians and Jews. A continuation of a dialogue that has been going for centuries, sometimes bloody sometimes peaceful. Now it's all done in peace.
There are almost 100 israelis who hike the Camino annually.
The reactions I myself have recieved while hiking the Camnio were astounding, from hugging, blessing, sharing, happiness and showing me the joy that I have chosen to hike with those who do the pilgrimage.
Both of our religions are very close, more then other religions, especially on these troubled times when we must unite in peace.
I am happy to see Christians coming to hike in Israel, whether it's the Israel National trail or Jesus trail, more and more are coming to this land to share with us our country.
The bond is getting stronger every year and I urge my fellows Israeli hikers all the time to travel to Europe and hike the Camino.
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese 2009 Estellas, 2014 Aurelia, 2016 St Davids, 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P
#13
Well, as someone already said - both St. James and Jesus were Jews originally/culturally!
I also have an aversion to small-minded Christianity - or any other small-mindedness! But i am called to pilgrimage. I am a pagan and as such see much of my belief's history torn down, misunderstood, maligned and often incorporated into Christian churches. But i still love visiting the remnants and i choose to do so in churches when a Christian service is NOT in progress. Then i feel that i can use the space as equally and reverentially as a Christian or any other believer. some of the world's most revered/important shrines have been used by several religions - do they lose their sacredness because the symbols and services change? I think not. As long as we do not push ourselves on others we should all be free to practise our beliefs wherever and whenever we deem it necessary.
Plus ca change !!!
enjoy your pilgrimage..
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#14
zammy said:
I am happy to see Christians coming to hike in Israel, whether it's the Israel National trail or Jesus trail, more and more are coming to this land to share with us our country.
The bond is getting stronger every year and I urge my fellows Israeli hikers all the time to travel to Europe and hike the Camino.
I went to Israel a couple of years ago - not hiking - mainly spending time touring the sites in Jerusalem. I loved the welcome I got as a fairly obvious Christian and would hope any Jewish pilgrims would feel the same on the Camino!
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#15
Well said tyrrek. I too visited Israel last year and loved it and also was made very welcome. I met several Israelis on the Camino this year and tried to return the welcome as best I could.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#16
Plenty of Jews on the camino. It is open to everybody. Sure, it is traditionally a Christian path, but even the churches that are open aren´t exactly evangelical.
That said, the camino is not for everybody... and a lot of those people are on the camino, too!
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#17
I wouldnt get too hung up on the Christian aspects of the camino as it was there before Christianity as indeed were many of the holy sites. These became Christian sites as part of the conversion of pagans as happened in Ireland. The holy places became sites for churches and the holy wells were named for Christian saints.
The spirit of the camino IMO is in the people you meet along the way and the spirit of those who have gone before.
 
#18
Thank you all for your very thoughtful and articulate replies. You have done a great job of giving me a better sense of the character and variety of the experience of walking on the Camino.

Also... to the person who sent me a private message calling me "narrow minded" for my observation about how Christianity is often exhibited in the U.S., especially when mixed with early 21st century politics ... well, that's my observation and my personal experience. You are, obviously, welcome to disagree. I'm not sure why you felt the need to do so only privately.
 
#19
Rebekah Scott said:
Plenty of Jews on the camino. It is open to everybody. Sure, it is traditionally a Christian path, but even the churches that are open aren´t exactly evangelical.
That said, the camino is not for everybody... and a lot of those people are on the camino, too!
I'm intrigued by your "not for everyone" statement. Can you give me an example of who the Camino might not be for? I am still trying to get a better sense of what this trail and walking it is all about and if it will be right for me.
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#21
quercus22 said:
I'm intrigued by your "not for everyone" statement. Can you give me an example of who the Camino might not be for? I am still trying to get a better sense of what this trail and walking it is all about and if it will be right for me.
I think it would be a good idea to start a new thread about "The camino is not for everyone" and not divert this one onto a different track.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Oct.( 2012), Pamplona to Santiago Compostela. Camino Finisterre, Oct. (2015)
#23
Perfectly put Pieces. For me it had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with spirituality and adventure. You will meet wonderful people that you will share at least one thing with(probably much more), you are there because you chose to be there.
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#24
An interesting thread. Some people come wrapped in the practice of a religious tradition that prevents them from sharing in any other religious tradition but their own. Living in a Muslim country I have met some Muslims that can easily, gladly grasp and appreciate my Christian heritage. I have also met some that could not. It does not matter what religious background an individual comes from; some are just more flexible than others. It is neither good or bad, but it just is. Pieces really did put it aptly; the Camino is for all those who accept the invitation to walk. I am not Catholic, was not raised Catholic, but I have found many ways to appreciate what I find on Camino. If you friends don't want to come, don't stop talking about the Camino, but for goodness sake stop inviting them to go. When an individual does not feel the call of the Camino, it means they really don't feel the call and it is not for them. Buy them a good book, a CD, take them to a play, or a movie instead.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#25
Pieces said:
The Camino is for those who choose to walk it, regardless....
Nail on the head Pieces.
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#26
St James was a Jew. Jesus (or Joshua - Yeshua ben Joseph) was a Jew, a Rabbi and prophet of the House of David ... the problem is? :|
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#28
eerrmmm ...India? :? ?????

is shorthand for what? :|
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#30
It is the same life PP, the same life.

I still don't understand your India reference, contained in a previous post of mine on an ancient thread. That the disciple Thomas was said to have received a mission to the Jewish diaspora in India is relevant because? :|
Jesus and his closest followers were Jews ... what happened later against the Jews in the Christianity of the Roman Empire and beyond for centuries is common knowledge, and has been apologised for openly and publicly by the last Pope ... my point was that Jesus and James were Jews - so where is the problem ....
Judaism Christianity and Islam all have the same God .. Jesus spoke Aramaic; in Aramaic the word for 'God' is 'Allah'
we are all of the books ... there should be no problem, don't you think?

Buen Camino :wink:
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#31
David said:
.
Judaism Christianity and Islam all have the same God .. Jesus spoke Aramaic; in Aramaic the word for 'God' is 'Allah'
we are all of the books ... there should be no problem, don't you think?

Buen Camino :wink:
David, in most peoples minds there is no problem, but beccause the camino is a small slice of life there are those few who believe that Jews or Muslims or Buddiists or whatever religion should not walk the camino because they are not Christian or indeed Chatholic or pure of heart or are not prepared to suffer enough or visit every church on the way. Thankfuly these are in the small minority. I met people from all major religions and no religion on my camino and they were walking it for their own reasons and good luck to them I say.

Again to quote Pieces who put it perfectly..

The Camino is for those who choose to walk it, regardless....
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#32
You are right, you are right - I always forget those types ... ah well, a thousand pilgrims - a thousand reasons ..
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#33
wayfarer said:
David said:
.
Judaism Christianity and Islam all have the same God .. Jesus spoke Aramaic; in Aramaic the word for 'God' is 'Allah'
we are all of the books ... there should be no problem, don't you think?

Buen Camino :wink:
David, in most peoples minds there is no problem, but beccause the camino is a small slice of life there are those few who believe that Jews or Muslims or Buddiists or whatever religion should not walk the camino because they are not Christian or indeed Chatholic or pure of heart or are not prepared to suffer enough or visit every church on the way. Thankfuly these are in the small minority. I met people from all major religions and no religion on my camino and they were walking it for their own reasons and good luck to them I say.
Who are these people? Will they put their hands up? I suspect nobody will, either because they don't exist or know they are so out of tune with the spirit of the Camino that they'll just be ignored. Buen Camino!
 
#34
Twin principles

David said:
I still don't understand your India reference
It’s about twin aspects of our own lives, the Camino, James [Jacobus], Thomas [Didymus], Jesus, Saint Issa, mortal and heavenly twins, Dioscuri, etc., etc., etc. Atom means undividable and Thomas means divided [twin, split, cut in half – think of vasectomy]. Most interesting stories, but it’s already been discussed a lot on this forum, so we’d better PM if you like.
Best,
Geerτ
miscellaneous-topics/topic11158-100.html#p74569
 

max44

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
13th April 2013 leaving. SJPDP via Rome
#35
I heard a minister say once "Churches would be so much better if religion didn't get in the way"

Just enjoy the walk, history, culture and comradery, That's what I do. If someone is in your face all the time.... just walk by yourself till you find someone else who isnt trying to sell you something. ;)

I was with someone who was always trying to find East at prayer time. Even that was interesting.

As a Templar knight myself(family since early 1200's), I dont think I would be too popular.:)

Just do your own thing. I am walking the Camino for "me" not for anyone else or any thing.
In the end, who cares :) People only know what religious group you are if you go out of your way to become a mater or to make a point. Having walked other treks even as a contractor to Israel for a time. Nothing is a problem until someone decides they are going to make it a problem or fly another flag to try and prove a point.
I will stick to being a Jedi :) (Start wars)
 

MCVet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2012)
#36
Well for what it's worth I walked the Camino as an atheist, and had no problems with it. Religion was rarely brought up but even when it was, it wasn't a big deal I don't think. People who I walked with who knew would look askance at me when I would show up to Mass but well, it's interesting. I don't know the Catholic religion so maybe I wasn't supposed to go to Mass or something (maybe something like defiling the church or something perhaps? I didn't bring it up). Beyond that, there was no adversity that I encountered, just curiosity. It's certainly not like it is here in the states.
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#37
MCVet said:
I don't know the Catholic religion so maybe I wasn't supposed to go to Mass or something (maybe something like defiling the church or something perhaps? I didn't bring it up). Beyond that, there was no adversity that I encountered, just curiosity. It's certainly not like it is here in the states.
Everyone is welcome to go to a Catholic Mass (though not take Communion). Maybe they were just surprised that you were there given that you're an atheist! Buen Camino!
 

MCVet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2012)
#38
Yah, that's what I assumed. Though i did take Communion because I was just doing what everyone else did (kneeled when they kneeled and so forth), uhm...oops. :)
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#39
Carrión de los Condes sitting one evening in the Albergue Santa Maria with my soup when in walks two nuns, one Spanish the other Peruvian to grant us a special pilgrims blessing for the dozen or so sitting there. We had a lovely talk, they were very interested to hear from where we all came from, a bit intrigued by the Judio in the woodpile, granted us all the blessing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and gave us all a token to remember our destination, the Compostela Field of Stars-which token? They had prepared a and colored a Star of David for each one of us, a star which I preserve and cherish.
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#40
MCVet said:
Yah, that's what I assumed. Though i did take Communion because I was just doing what everyone else did (kneeled when they kneeled and so forth), uhm...oops. :)
Simple mistake. You won't burn in Hell for it! :D Buen Camino!
 

Eliza611

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
February march 2013
#41
I want to walk the camino for about two weeks late feb and early march. I am Jewish,but not religious,in transition in life,my kids are both in college,and I love being outdoors and meeting people. I am from Oregon and looking for a light travel companion,I am married and I have not traveled on my own. Not exactly sure how the Jewish part will work out,meaning my emphasis is not on churches,except for architecture,or Jesus...but I like the idea of a personal journey that is affordable and where I will meet new friends.so is anyone planning on walking in feb march or is it too cold?
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#42
Eliza - many Jewish people are not frum - and you will meet similar from other religions along the Camino. To me, one of the blessings of the Camino is that you never seem to meet the loud evangelical 'pushers', but you will meet some deep thinking kind and Good people.

You know ... although not recognised by the Sanhedrin as the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua was still a Rabbi with Jewish teachings, so all is well. As the Muslims say, we are all people of the book.

... that wanting to meet someone for the journey .. fear not - that will be provided, don't worry, the day you start is the same day a number of others start, some even more nervous than you may think you might be, and you will be thrown together ... and very pleasant it can be too (as well as irritating of course :wink: )

Buen Camino
 

zammy

Active Member
#43
February March- cold cold. Warm clothes, rain gear, sleeping bag, goretex shoes, backpack rain cover, hiking poles. Check if high passes are open like the Ocebrero. If closed- take the road, no problem there.
For 2 weeks I suggest you start from Ponferada.(night bus from Madrid)
As an Israeli (Jewish) -you are going to enjoy it, a unique experience of winter hiking. All other pilgrims will appreciate your joining them on their pilgrimage as a Jewish person.
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#45
Well, Jesus (Yeshua) and James (Yacob) were both Jews and because one cannot think outside of one's enculturation they would both have thought as Jews of that period thought ... Yeshua himself is quoted as saying (of the Mosaic Law - the Scriptural Law of the Jews, of which he was a loyal and Rabinnic one)
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished”

Show me a Jew who can disagree with such a teaching ... until Paul of course :|
(the disagreement is/was, should we be pedantic, was/is whether he was/is the fulfillment of that Law)

All is well

Buen Camino
 

gitta

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances. 2001,Camino Frances 2002, Camino Denmark- Compostella, 2005, La Voie du Puy, 2007, Camino St. Olaf, 2008, La Voie de Arles, 2010, Via de Gebenensis, 2010, La voie du Puy, 2011
#47
I asked a friend of mine to join me on my planned pilgrimage in May. His reply after some study was that, while he is very attracted to the idea of pilgrimage, The Camino isn't his pilgrimage. He said that even though he would love the walk and the company, the essential Christian nature of it would require him to be constantly "reframing" everything. By that, I infer that he means translating all the iconography and liturgy into more universal terms that he would find less exclusive. I infer that, because it is exactly the process I have found myself engaged in since I decided to do the walk. I know that it has been designated a CULTURAL Itinerary by the Council of Europe, but its Christian heritage is undeniably strong.

So, what I'm looking for here isn't help reframing. I get that there are tons of people who walk this for all sorts of reasons with disparate backgrounds and beliefs. What I'm really curious about is what experiences non-Christians (especially Jews) have had actually walking the Camino.

I should mention that the religion of Judaism means very little to me. I'm not fond of any organized religion. Spiritual, but not religious, I guess you might say. But I still feel a little queasy when I find myself surrounded by too much Christianity.

I guess I should also mention before I draw too much negativity in my direction that i'm actually quite fond of Christ. It's just the church that I find somewhat off-putting. (Synagogues too, for that matter).
Hi Ricksca: Well written - perhaps you would like to read what my friend, James Ernest Heimann wrote in his blog about being jewish on the camino? He has had quite a lot of exerience walking, and has some good, funy,relevant and very thought-provoking insights he would like to share with fellow jews on the Camino (Caminos)..... greetings from a Danish pilgrim Gitta, friend of James Heimann... both of us are long time members of the Danish organisation of Santiago Pilgrims, and give talks besides writing frequent articles in our magazine.....

http://earnestheimann.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/i-a-wondering-wandering-jew/
 

Annie Little

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
#48
I come from multicultural / multidenominantional family ... have learnt a lot ... now believe that while we are all of our own beliefs .. we are actually ONE... in my family descendents and present .. we have Christian ( in all it s forms) , Jewish, Atheist, Muslim..., Buddhist

Go to the Camino as who you are... be yourself.... learn from others ... they shall learn from you also

For ME the Camino is a "blending" of peoples ... others may disagree .... you may not disagree

Go as you are
Buen Camino ( whatever the Camino is for you)
Annie XX
 
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robertt

Active Member
#49
Some of the great moments on camino are passing through old Jewish places and picking up on the influence. Belorado, Castrojeriz, and Fromista, which used to be one quarter Jewish. Those classic foods of the Astorga region, the cured beef and madalenas made on beef fat, are of Jewish origin. I'm a Mick, but for some reason I always head for a juderia when there's one nearby.

Whoever feels the urge to go on the Camino should just go. Even New Zealanders. (Just joking, kiwinomad!)
 

Whalleyranger

Moderator
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Jul-Aug 05, Frances, Jul-Aug 06, Portugues, Oct 2010
#50
On a practical note - Jewish (and Muslim for the same reasons) pilgrims might have trouble finding kosher / halal food that suits them, especially in smaller villages. Even salads tend to contain ham. I've found quite often Spanish people don't consider ham to be meat.
 

Yaakov

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning on walking the Camino for my birthday in 2017, God willing.
#52
I asked a friend of mine to join me on my planned pilgrimage in May. His reply after some study was that, while he is very attracted to the idea of pilgrimage, The Camino isn't his pilgrimage. He said that even though he would love the walk and the company, the essential Christian nature of it would require him to be constantly "reframing" everything. By that, I infer that he means translating all the iconography and liturgy into more universal terms that he would find less exclusive. I infer that, because it is exactly the process I have found myself engaged in since I decided to do the walk. I know that it has been designated a CULTURAL Itinerary by the Council of Europe, but its Christian heritage is undeniably strong.

So, what I'm looking for here isn't help reframing. I get that there are tons of people who walk this for all sorts of reasons with disparate backgrounds and beliefs. What I'm really curious about is what experiences non-Christians (especially Jews) have had actually walking the Camino.

I should mention that the religion of Judaism means very little to me. I'm not fond of any organized religion. Spiritual, but not religious, I guess you might say. But I still feel a little queasy when I find myself surrounded by too much Christianity.

I guess I should also mention before I draw too much negativity in my direction that i'm actually quite fond of Christ. It's just the church that I find somewhat off-putting. (Synagogues too, for that matter).
I am born Catholic who converted to Orthodox Judaism over 40 yrs ago.

I was born into a devout Catholic family but at 21, after years of study, I converted to Traditional Judaism and have remained faithful to that tradition since my conversion over 45 years ago. I lived in Israel for more than a decade so have made pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the jewel in the crown and the only place where all religions gather, if not always harmoniously.
For my 70th birthday in 3 years, my intention is to walk the Camino. I deeply appreciate the religious history of the way and being named Yaakov (James) have an attachment to the Apostle James who was a faithful Jew. I read Nees Noteboom's fascinating book, "Roads to Santiago" and was captivated by it and by his experience(s) with Spain. I plan on writing a guide as I walk one dealing with what was happening to Jewish communities on or near the Camino, during the 13th-15th centuries. Which periods were periods of relative tranquility? Which were filled with intolerance and expulsions and pogroms? Which communities saw a flourishing of Jewish spirituality and culture? For example, I have always found a striking similarity to the liturgical poetry found in the liturgy of the High Holydays and that of medieval Christian poets who were writing often with the same imagery. Who influenced who here?

There is something about walking a way, through a landscape, a landscape that has not changed in more than a millennium. There is a felt connexion with those for whom the world of faith resonated as portrayed in stone and form as stories from the Judeo Christian canon. Individual pilgrims may not share belief in that faith today but it is a part of European culture in all its aspects, gentle and harsh, tolerant and hateful. So, I look forward to walking the Camino in loving memory of my Catholic parents, grandparents and Irish ancestors. And I walk it for all the Jews of Sepherad who remained faithful to the religion of their forefathers, who loved this land of Sepherad, who were forcibly expelled from it and who died rather than betray the faith of their ancestors. Along with the shell of St. James, my outer clothing will have the yellow circle that Jews were forced to wear at certain periods in Spain. So, I walk with two feet, one in the world of my direct ancestors and the other in the world of my adopted people and our shared faith in the Eternal God of Israel.
 
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Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
#53
Yaakov, I was moved by your post and wish you Buen Camino in 2017.

I walked the Camino Frances for the first time this September. I had the book 'The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago' by Gitlitz and Davidson with me (on my tiny Galaxy fame phone, which had formatting issues in places making it almost impossible to read). At the beginning of the description for each town/village, the authors give a summary of the history of any Jewish community there. It makes for deeply depressing reading, though now and then, a spark of humanity can be glimpsed when a town or leader defies the authorities and protects the community. I would be most interested to read your guide.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
#54
Shalom Ya'akov and Greetings fro Jerusalem! The life of the Jewish people in Northern Spain was quite different from those living in the South. No "Golden Age" and tolerance was purchased and often as quickly revoked, it is a story not easily told. The best example is the life of the author of the "Zohar", the Kabbalist Moshe de Leon, who was indeed from Leon, he wrote the all important "Book of Splendor (Zohar) in France since he was forced to escape from Spain in order to preserve his life. Get out your notebook and start to write down:
The Jewish Encyclopdia may be accessed from the Internet, look up the articles on Pamplona, Najera, Burgos, Leon, Sahagun, Astorga,
If your Hebrew is good look up ספרד and those same cities in הנציקלופדיה העברית
Try "The Popes and the Jews in the Middle Ages by Edward A. Synan
"Galicia - A Concise History" by Sharif Gemle
"Local Religion" William A. Christian Jr. deals with a later period but does relate to Jews and the popular religious belief.
Best of all,תולדות היהודימ בספרד" יצחק באר "
And lastly - חנוכה שמח!
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#55
There is enough experience and discovery available to all persons on each of the Camino routes. Religion was only a prerequisite during the first several centuries of the original Camino. Since its "rediscovery" several decades ago, the Camino provides a different experience to every pilgrim who walks it.

You need not be an adherent to any organized religion to come away with deeply "spiritual" discoveries. All are welcome. All are brothers and sisters in the Camino experience. It is not an organized movement.

Membership in the brotherhood of the Camino is something akin to having been in combat, albeit in a non-traumatic way. If you've never been there and done that, no amount of explanation or video games can possibly convey the experience. However, if you HAVE had that life experience, no amount of explanation is needed. A mere glance tells you all you need to know and no expansion is needed.

I have met people from all over the world. Many were doing the Camino for the historical, cultural, architectural, or even metaphysical reasons. However, those were usually the rationales for the first several days.

Once you walk a week or so, meet and interact with people, and exchange your humanity, you find that you have developed your "Camino Family." Some of these bonds are transitory. Some are life-long. I still miss most everyone I spoke to along the way on both of my treks. I consider myself blessed to have made several friends, who I hope to walk with again in future.

Many people start a Camino with no preconceptions or expectations. What they typically find is that "the Camino provides." You wanted excersize, you got it. You wanted alone time, it is there for you. You wanted to meet new and interesting people, you will meet more than you care to. You want to challenge yourself, no problem there. You wanted to find yourself, you will.

Every person eventually finds something. Many times, it is not what they thought they were looking for. Sometimes, one is not actually looking for anything. "It" finds them.

Sometimes, the "it" does not catch up with you until it is all over, perhaps on your way home, or even after returning home. Then, all of a sudden, "you get it." it is a seminal moment and different to each person. For me, it occurred about half-way through my first Camino, on a rainy day. From that point on, you are hooked. See you again...

I enjoyed all the conversations I've had with people along my two Camino Frances treks (2013, 2014). Some discussions were religious. Others were political. Some were just story-telling. But all added to my experience and discovery.

Just do it! Shalom!

I hope this helps.
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
#56
At all of the locations where people tend to leave handmade stick crosses, I always saw a large number of stars of Davids
 

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