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Israel Day 7

June 22, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen we have made it to my 200th post!  Thanks to those of you who have actually read them (or some of them…I’m sure my wife is the only one that has actually read all of the posts…if she has read them all)!  Now back to the post and Israel!

Every night as we pull back into the hotel I keep waiting to hear our guide tell us that the bus is leaving at 10 AM…or even better, noon!  No such luck.  Oh well.  We are in Jerusalem.  I will sleep when I get back to June Gloom at home.  Today we started off with a place called the Yad Hashmonah.  This is a Christian kibbutz and actually one of the only ones.  For those of you that don’t remember a kibbutz is a communal community (doesn’t that make sense or is it just really repetitively repeating the same thing?).  They share everything.  Anyway, this place is in the Judean hills and is near a town called Kiriath Jearim where the Ark of the Covenant was kept for about 120 years.  Pretty cool.  Here at Yad Hashmonah they have what they called the Biblical Gardens.  Kenny Rogers told us all about the Judean hills around us and then took us through the Biblical Gardens where he told us all about Biblical times and things like oil presses, wine presses, watchtowers, etc.  Good stuff.

Next we headed to the Israel Museum.   I kinda thought that’s what we were doing this whole trip, but apparently there is a museum as well.  Here they have several exhibits including a model of Jerusalem and the Shrine of the Book.  We started out with the model of Jerusalem which is a representation of what the city would have looked like in the time of the second temple.  This was really cool.  It was great to get an overview of what the city would have looked like.  It was also funny that they have a mistake in the model.  Remember the triple gates I told you about a few days ago on the southern wall?  Well they are double gates in the model.  Seems like something they could fix pretty easily.  Hmmm.  After the model we went into the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept.  It was really nice to be inside for a bit in the air conditioning…and the scrolls were sweet too!  Oh and we found a bug wandering around inside one of the glass cases with one of the scrolls in it!  That can’t be good!

Finally it was lunch time!  Good stuff.  The place we stopped for lunch had a great view from the top of the hill it was on looking out over the valley and with Bethlehem on the other side.  Unfortunately that was about as close as we were gonna get since Bethlehem is under Palestinian control.  Apparently its a huge ordeal or get over there including changing buses and guides.  So no go for lying in a manger.  After checking out the view and story time with Abraham, we headed to Yad Vashem.

Yad Vashem, which means a place and a name, is the Israeli Holocaust museum.  Fortunately for us it wasn’t the Holocaust museum in Washington.  Wow.  This was amazing!…I mean in a very difficult way.  When we were getting off the bus our guide told us we would have about an hour and a half to go through it.  I’m not speaking for everyone else, but I kinda thought that was a long time.  Little did I know that this wouldn’t be near enough time to take it all in.  After most of our group took pretty close to two hours in there we were finally herded out because we had other appointments to keep.  I would love to be able to go back and spend a good bit of time there and really see it all.  Might take all day.  There were some amazing pictures here.  Many of them very difficult to see.  The very last thing they have in the memorial is the Hall of Names.  Here they have listed all the names of every Jewish person killed in the Holocaust.  I think the biggest thing for me was a quote that was basically one of the first things you see when you walk in.  It is from a man named Kurt Tucholsky who was a German-Jewish journalist in Germany.  He said, “a country is not just what it does – it is also what it tolerates.”

And on a lighter note we headed back to the hotel with our heads full of thoughts from the previous heaviness.  Next up was a Jeep ride in the desert!  Sweet.  Actually they were Land Rovers, but it was still cool.  We all piled into the “Jeeps” and drove into what is called the West Bank (but any Jew will correct you and tell you is Samaria) and then off into the desert around us!  This was lots of fun…except that I was in the back which wasn’t a problem except for the metal piece that was right next to my head that I had to use all my strength the whole ride to make sure I didn’t slice my head open with.  We drove through the dust and rocks and stopped at a Bedouin water tank.  This was amazing to see how they would live in the desert but still have enough non-spring water from such little rainfall out there.  Then we headed up to the top of a hill as it got dark and could look out over all of Jerusalem by night.  That was an amazing site!  After Adam rode a donkey we loaded back up and went to Genesis Land for a late dinner.  Here we were served dinner as if we were guests in the tent of Abraham as we sat on the floor with their low tables.  I was so tired by this point, I was about to go to sleep right there!  But Abraham, who was decked out in his Bedouin clothing from early Biblical times…and his cargo pants underneath was telling us all about life as a Bedouin in those times.  Then they served dinner!  Yeah!  We were a little hungry at this point.  So I’m not a big fan of dates (the fruit…I love my dates with my wife) but chicken in date honey is outstanding!  Now our bellies were full and it was time for one more jostling “Jeep” ride back to the hotel to crash before we had to get up super early again!

Enjoy some more pictures from the day!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2009 9:12 AM

    Did you get to go in the hall of children in Yad Vashem? That was pretty powerful for us.

  2. June 22, 2009 1:42 PM

    200 posts! I’ve read them all! Except the boring football ones 😉

  3. I'm Brook James permalink*
    June 22, 2009 2:34 PM

    Hey Chris! Yes we did. We actually went through a good bit of the site before we went into the main museum. The Children’s Memorial was amazing. Just them speaking their names constantly is powerful. There is just too much to see and speak of there for a short blog! I had to cut some stuff out! I would love to go back and spend more time there for sure.

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