Soap for Hope
These days, soap is a highly valued commodity and, if we are following the experts’ advice we will be using more of it than usual. The temptation then may be to buy the cheapest we can find, or else the most expensive in the belief that it will more effectively destroy the germs.
Here is another approach – what I might call “soap for hope”. It isn’t cheap, nor is it available in the supermarket, but if we have the money and don’t mind ordering online, we can purchase a soap that brings hope to some women overseas. These women, both Arab and Jewish, work together in Sindyanna of Galilee, a female-led, not-for-profit organisation whose basic raw material is the oil which they purchase from local olive groves.
Cooking oil is the most obvious of their various products, but their soap also contains olive oil, made following traditional methods in the West Bank city of Nablus. The gift box which I bought from Embrace the Middle East has four different bars – plain, lemon, sage, and pomegranate. Wonderful!
Restrictions in Israel due to Covid-19 have already begun to ease but obviously businesses have suffered during the lockdown and Sindyanna is no exception, so it’s good to know that the olive groves are flourishing. I know this thanks to Rev. Kate McDonald, a Church of Scotland Mission Partner who is based at St Andrew’s Church in Tiberias. Much of her work is “out and about” – visiting and supporting various partner organisations which in one way or another are working for justice and peace. Sindyanna is one of those partners. You can find out more about Kate’s work on her blog - https://imaginationofpeace.com/
Or check out Sindyanna on their own website - http://www.sindyanna.com/
Jesus once astounded his disciples by engaging a Samaritan woman in conversation, for Jews and Samaritans kept their distance: as the Gospel of John tells us, they would not even share the same drinking cups.
The conflict in the West Bank between Jews and Arabs today also runs deep.
To think of Arab and Jewish women collaborating to make soap, enjoying the sort of banter that so many furloughed folk are currently missing, gives me HOPE that one day peace will come to the whole of the lands familiar to us through scripture.
“Hope disposes the believer towards change. Hope is oriented toward what is coming tomorrow. In hope we count on the possibilities of the future and we do not remain imprisoned in the institutions of the past.” (Jurgen Moltmann, German Lutheran pastor and theologian)