My name is Simon, and I am a Jew. I was born in the small village of Nazareth, seventy miles north of Jerusalem in lower Galilee, thirty-three years ago. My father, Lucius, is a wine merchant; and we moved to Cyrene, the capital of the Roman province of Cyrenaica, when I was twelve.
Cyrenaica has a Jewish population of one hundred thousand. My wife, Serah, and I live in a Jewish community of Cyrene, with our sons, Rufus and Alexander. When my friend Nathan and I graduated from the Academy of Philosophy in Cyrene, we went into the importing and exporting wine business with my father.
Nathan and I are going to Jerusalem on business and plan on celebrating Passover while we are there. It has been over twenty years since we moved to Cyrene, and returning to Jerusalem has been a dream of mine for years.
My thoughts are also focused on going to Nazareth and visiting with relatives and old friends, especially my childhood friend Jesus. Our families lived next door to each other, and Jesus and I attended school together at the synagogue.
As children, I helped my father in the vineyards and winery, and Jesus helped his father in the carpentry shop. We enjoyed watching my father make wine and his father make furniture. After school, we would play games on the village square; and in the evenings, we would play in Jesus’s father’s workshop. I have fond memories of those days.
This is my story.