Definition: a symbol used to join two words together, or to show that a word has been divided into two parts at the end of one line and the beginning of the next.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

Amanda, a good friend, is studying Jewish/Christian relations in Rome and she just shared a copy of her latest assignment, for a course on theParting of the Ways, discussing the split between Jews and Christians.

Amanda in Phoenix

Group Study in Rome | Photo from Amanda’s Facebook page

Sometimes a word or a phrase, in a book, a conversation, a video, or even  an academic paper, stops you in your tracks and surprised, you think, “This is a word for me…right now”.

Amanda chose the phrase, Living in the Hyphen to describe her own identity. Her parents both have Jewish background and raised her Catholic. And so, Amanda, is by birth and choice a Jew in the Roman Catholic Church.

She first heard the concept, hyphen living, while talking with a Rabbi in Israel.

Why did those words jump off the page for me? You would think that by now the question of identity is surely settled.

I also am a Jew, a follower of the Messiah, a Christian, living in the dichotomy, worshipping within the Anglican communion. Where do I fit, church or synagogue? Where is home?

And then I think of  the others, multitudes hovering outside uniformity. Is there a peaceful place to settle?

Poster created by Baruch HaShem

Last Sunday I was invited to tell my story, via Zoom, with Baruch HaShem, a Messianic Congregation in Dallas Texas.

 Daniel and Monica Valle and their 3 children were there, listening. 

Two days later, they just happened to be traveling to California for a family wedding, passing Phoenix on their way!

Sydney, Jonah, Allan, Monica and Daniel in Phoenix.

They stopped by for a short visit and we shared stories.

Daniel, from Spain, living in the USA, heading with his family to Australia, said, “Identity is a journey”

Monica’s family background is Muslim, Armenian with a Jewish great-grandmother….

It was our first meeting but we felt an immediate bond, their presence was a benediction.

What was going on between us?