Sunday, May 11, 2008

Israel in one breath

I'm not sure how to capture this trip in a blog post. I was going to give a timeline that roughly follows the photo slideshow and then elaborate with a few stories. But I think just the timeline and photos is enough content for now. I may post in the future with some specific stories - which would probably be more interesting anyway. But for now, a general overview.

Sunday, April 27:
Depart for Israel from Atlanta at 11:30 pm.

Monday, April 28: Arrive in Tel Aviv at 5:30 pm (7 hrs ahead of Atlanta time). Go to Moses Burger for dinner and stay with friends of Abe's parents that night.

Tuesday, April 29: This is where the photos start. Go to the beach on the Mediterranean in the morning. Play Frisbee in the surf. Drive to Jerusalem. Visit the bazaar in the Old City. Eat falafel. Visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where visitors touch the stone believed to be where Jesus was prepared for burial.

Wednesday, April 30:
Meet up with the rest of the tour group. Visit look-out points from the Mount of Olives to the Jerusalem Center and to the Old City. Visit Shrine of the Book to see Dead Sea Scrolls. See our first camel. More falafel for lunch. Spend the afternoon at the Wailing Wall, excavated western wall of temple mount, temple steps from the days of Jesus.

Thursday, May 1: Go down (literally) from Jerusalem to Jericho (lowest city on earth) and then north to Galilee. Pass rocky deserts, palm tree plantations, and shepherds on the way. Boat across the Sea of Galilee. Stop in Capernaum, see remains of a synagogue at the time of Jesus. Visit the Mount of Beatitudes, swim in the sea, and then watch a beautiful sunset from our lodgings.

Friday, May 2: Up toward the Golan Heights to Caesara Phillipi (Jesus to Peter: "Whom say ye that I am?"). Also to the Greek Temple of Pan and mouth of the Jordan river, and later to a waterfall. Driving along fenced off mine fields from days of war. Lunch at a Druiz eatery. Return home, having seen (but not entered into) Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

Saturday, May 3: Sabbath today. Church at the Jerusalem Center, overlooking the mount of olives and the old city. (All of the photos of the Jerusalem Center, its wine presses and olive presses, are here, although most of them were taken from a concert we attended Sunday night or a tour we went on Tuesday morning.) Drove to lookout over Bethlehem and Bethany, but did not enter the cities because they are Palestinian and the Israeli wall/check points are difficult to deal with.

Sunday, May 4: Temple Mount in the morning - Dome of the Rock. Tunnel of excavations along the western wall of the temple mount. Went to a place where Pilot may have washed his hands at Jesus' trial. Also to pool of Bethesda and church there where our group stood up in the front and sang an impromptu rendition of "Now Let Us Rejoice" and listened to the beautiful reverberations. Down to Pool of Siloam where water was irrigated in Hezekiah's time. Finally, to the upper room - not the upper room, but one very similar, within the old city. Attended piano concert in Jerusalem Center in the evening - this was the only time that we went outside in Jerusalem at night.

Monday, May 5: Real tourist day. Down south to Masada, Roman fortress of Herod that the Jews took over in the revolt in approx 70 AD, and where Romans then attacked and people in fortress committed mass suicide. Then retraced steps to Ein Gedi, where David and Saul chased each other, and Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Finally floated in the Dead Sea.

Tuesday, May 6: Last big day. Started in the Garden of Gethsemane. While we were there the practice air show for the Israel independence day was going on. Toured Jerusalem Center, stopped at Caiaphus' Palace and scourging chamber, where Jesus may have been taken and stayed overnight. Finally went to Garden Tomb.

Wednesday, May 7: No photos from this day. Spent the morning at a local school for Palestinian children, especially those with physical handicaps. Abe's mom was interviewing some for a book she is writing. Then went shopping in the afternoon.

Thursday, May 8:
Walked around the top of the city wall around the old city. Also walked around the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Meah Shearim. No pictures from there. At 11:00 in the evening, got on plane back to US.

Friday, May 9: 9 am, arrive in Detroit.


Jen said...

What an incredible journey! Reading the scriptures must be such a different experience now. I think about how it was talking to Mom and Dad on the phone when they first moved to Decatur and I couldn't picture them in their surroundings compared to talking on the phone after seeing their house. It just seemed more real, more personal.

Glad you had such a great time!

Ben and Sarah said...

Wow, what a trip! Those places have never really seemed that real to me. That's so cool that you got to go experience them in person. Can't wait to hear some stories.