I didn’t plan to take as many photos of people in Israel as I did. At first, I just wanted to capture everyday life. While thousands of people visit Israel every year to visit biblical sites and walk where Jesus walked, many more are taking their own steps, living present-day life in Israel every single day. I didn’t want to be an observer. As much as possible, I wanted to walk alongside others, and at the very least, respect them.
On the first day, as we walked down Rothschild Avenue in Tel Aviv, I savored the “everyday-ness” of people around me.
Then, I looked up into a building under construction and saw this man:
Still everyday life, on the same block, yet very different from the many people casually strolling along the boulevard, eating breakfast in open air cafes, and sipping their morning coffee. As I snapped the photo, the man looked at me. I felt guilty for invading his space, what seemed to be his temporary home. I took my camera away from my eyes and acknowledged him with a nod out of respect. He smiled. But I didn’t stop. I didn’t ask what he needed. I didn’t ask how I could help.
He doesn’t know it, but he helped me. He reminded me to look people in the eyes, to not observe but to participate. Right then and there, I determined to capture as many faces in Israel as I could to help people see the commonalities in all of our lives. There is beauty in diversity, and there is compassion in commonalities. We need to see each other without the stereotypes. We need to see individuals. We need to look at each in the eyes, and trust God to help us see others’ hearts.
I invite you to look into some of the eyes and hearts of the people of Israel as I saw them. Click here to visit a photo album I posted to Facebook.