Pictures from Day 4: Rav Glick and the Kotel Tunnels

Hey all, sorry for the delay in updating pictures – I really am trying to get on a schedule! So here are some pictures from Day 2 in Jerusalem – check out the post

You’ll see Rav (Rabbi) Glick, a member of the Knesset and a survivor of an assassination attempt. You’ll also see bits and pieces of our tour through the Kotel Tunnels, the area beneath the city where life happened before the Romans built it up.

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And here’s a small clip of one of our tour guides, Hanoch, as he shares with us a time and place long past. He’s not too passionate, is he?

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Pictures from day 3: the Old City

Another day of photos! We spent the day in the Old City, going to the Temple Mount, visiting the Western Wall, meeting with shop owners, and enjoying the city in general. Click here to review my post of our experiences there.

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As we were waiting in line to go to the Temple Mount, we got to see a Bar Mitzvah procession…

And what tourist place would be complete without amazing street performers?

Don’t forget to visit Joined to HaShem to see even more photos!

Back to Jersualem

I’m back in the States, trying to catch up, get over jet lag, and process. There will be A LOT of processing, and you get to join me in that journey as well. Lucky you. But in the mean time, I will finish up initial thoughts of the rest of my time in Israel. As always, you can check out pictures and videos at the Joined to HaShem site.

Jerusalem – Last Tour Day

The last day of the tour took us to the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. As our tour guides say, it is not a museum, but a place to remember the atrocities and those who suffered. I sit here, and I have no idea how to put into words the horror and sadness that comes over me. The English term is Holocaust; I prefer the Hebrew term “Shoah”, which means catastrophe, as opposed to a word that means “burnt offering”. After time at the memorial, including a personal teaching at the tree of Corrie Ten Boom just outside the building, we were released once again into the Old City to wander around, make last purchases, and imprint the city in our spirit. After a couple of hours,we gathered together, and those who had a flight to catch went on their way to Tel-Aviv for the airport, and the remaining few of us went our individual ways. And though evening had just peeked through, and morning had not come yet, that was day 10, the last day of the tour. And it was very good. 😉

Jerusalem – My Wanderings

I stayed at a hostel, along with a few other people from the tour who were staying over. After getting settled in, we headed out to Ben Yehuda street to take it in some more and have dinner. It was Thursday night, the night before Shabbat, and it was very active. As one of our tour guides had mentioned, it was kind of like “date night” and hangout time before the weekend, so there was a lot to see. It was rather fun to stroll and people watch. The next day, I walked the streets of the corner of Jerusalem I was in, just watching and observing, taking time not to think, but just be. I picked up a couple of things again at Ben Yehuda street, dashed into a market to buy some lunch before everything closed at 4 or 5 for Shabbat. I loved the custom of shutting everything down for the day of rest. Not everyone does it anymore, even in Jerusalem, but most people and shops do. The hostel had a Erev Shabbat (Shabbat evening) dinner, mostly a cultural experience to teach those staying there. I got picked to read the blessing that traditionally is said by the woman of the house. That was a fun little experience. On Shabbat afternoon, I made my way to the Old City to meet some folk, and we sat and read the Torah portion for the week, and talked about the scripture – a wonderful study of the Bible overlooking Jerusalem and the Temple Mount! What also was fun was that a portion of the study was Genesis 12, the place where we began our tour. Reading it and having been there brought the scripture to life in a very tangible way. Dinner happened at a rooftop restaurant, where we could again watch the sunset over the city. Sunday was visiting day; I spent time chatting with one of the tour guides who was still in the city, and then had tea with a young lady who had just moved to the city from the States via New Zealand. It was great to share our stories and experiences. After that, I had dinner with a couple from the tour who were also seeing Jerusalem at their own pace. It was a precious, precious time. As the day drew to a close, I packed up my bags and got ready to travel northward to stay with some friends in the Carmel region. But that is a story for another blog…

Jerusalem Day 2, and Shabbat

So, our second day in Jerusalem started out with a wonderful surprise: Yehudah Glick, an active proponent of getting all people to be able to pray on the Temple Mount, as well as a member of the Knesset, can to speak to and with us. It was humbling and encouraging; as a peaceful demonstrator of peace, he was shot point blank in the chest 4 times. It was a miracle that he survived, and as he recovered, the refrain we heard over and over again was apparent – they tear down, we rebuild. He continued to spread the message of echad, oneness, and out of very great odds, was appointed to a place on the Knesset, the religious ruling body. The stories and experiences I get to share with you are absolutely incredible! Check out the full video on the Joined to HaShem site. After that, we went back to the Old City and wandered through the Kotel Tunnels. The tunnels were built by the Romans after they destroyed the temple to build a city over the valley that was next to the wall. So as we were walking the tunnels, city life was happening above us. There were very awesome and just… awe inspiring moments. We came to the end of a finished road, and one of our guides explained exactly where we were. Now, we can say Yeshua could have walked here, or there, but at this point, there was no doubt – to go to and from the city, everyone passed this place. Just sit and reflect on that. We were let loose in the Old City once again to roam around, eat lunch, and do retail therapy. We came back to the hotel early because we had to prepare for shabbat; lunch wasn’t served the next day, and we had to do the mad rush to the grocery store, as most people do before everything closes about 3 pm. We had Erev Shabbat (shabbat evening) dinner, and I went to bed with a cold. And it was evening and it was day, the 4th day.

Shabbat began with Torah reading and exposition from Genesis 6-11. Do you know how special it was to study scriptures together in the land? We read and talked and shared for about two hours, broke for lunch and ate at the benches outside enjoying the weather. We then gathered together once again and shared what was our highlight to that point. Many special stories, and I shared about Shiloh. It was a great enjoyable time to draw closer to one another. We had dinner once again, then went wandering down Ben Yehudah street, peeking into stores and enjoying the end of Shabbat. It was a wonderful way to spend the day. And there was evening, and there was day, and the 5th day. 🙂

Judea and Samaria, Shiloh, and the Old City

Hey guys! It’s been extremely busy the last several days, and due to internet problems, we are now embarking on day 6 of the official tour and I hope to post this. I’ve already actually written this, but it was completely erased, so I will begin again – oi vey.

One of our tour guide said to experience the Land for ourselves, and not through the eyes of a camera. As stated, pictures are not my strength, I have some, but not nearly as much as the mental pictures in my head. I have a link to pictures from the tour leaders (Joinedtohashem.org), and I would have pictures and videos below, but the internet connection will not allow me to upload, so I shall now try to develop the pictures in my head. Visual pictures will follow when I get home.

Judea and Samaria

We began in Itamar, which means heart, and was in the heart of the land of Joseph, in what the rest of the world calls the West bank. The tour guides call is Judah and Samaria. The people who have settled there in towns and villages (not settlements, as people are insistent on calling it) call it Judah and Samaria, and after hearing the stories and walking the land, to me, it is Judea and Samaria. As we looked around at a place that media tells us is overcrowded, seeing the countryside and wide open spaces, we gleaned, just a little, of what the people are walking through. Many of the Jews come home with a practical vision to plow, till, and invest in the land. They come in tents, living for months or years with no electricity and no running water because they know it’s home. This tour has taken us to places that  most tourist groups never get to. On Itamar, you can see three seas on a clear day (it wasn’t quite clear when we were there); The see of Galilee, The Dead Sea, and the Mediterranean. This is where the valley of Abraham is, and you look in one direction, you can see Mount Ebal, the mountain of curses, and in the other direction, Mount Gerazim, the mountain of blessings. This area specializes in organic farms, and we went to one where the did goat farming, and a stubborn goat followed us around. I ended up trying to lead the goat away from some of the flowers – a new profession? We’ll see. You can see that picture on the Joined to Hashem site link I posted at the top. They told us it was the last press of the olive, last of the harvest season before the rainy season. It happened to rain, and everywhere we went, they told us what a blessing it was that we were here for the first day of the rains, because even in the rainy season, it doesn’t rain much. We even caught a full rainbow! As we descended from Itamar, we saw the fences around the lower part – they were there to try to keep the terrorist out. We visited the house of the Fogel’s, a family who was massacred by a terrorist. They stabbed an elementary aged girl, the mother, the father, came back, and stabbed the 3 month old baby. Only one daughter and two sons were spared. The community’s response? Keep building what the muslims want to break down. What a resilient people. As we came down from there towards Har Braka through Shechem, our guide read the promise to Abraham, and it was very… special to be in the same place he was, and here the same words he did. We went to a wine tasting in Har Braka, and heard their story; how they came with nothing, not even the ability to farm, but just knowing they had to come. Here and many other places we heard the same thing, the produce of the land, the fruits and vegetables, we are not just eating fruits, we are eating prophecy. Very powerful stuff. We went next to Ha Yovel, the largest recognized Christian Community in Israel. Their mission is to come along side to help and strengthen the farmers of the land. It is an incredible ministry, and people who want to do a service project in Israel should definitely check it out.I will post a video of one of the leaders singing the only song he ever wrote about committing to the land. It’s beautiful. And then there was evening and then there was day, the first day 😉

Shiloh

Before we left Judea and Samaria, we visited another winery, tasting their fruits (or rather, the prophecy) and hearing their stories. The buildings were rather oddly designed. When the owners first came they lived in tents, waiting for permits to be granted to build permanent structures. Well, while they were waiting, they built buildings underneath their tents. When the permits were granted, they were already well on their was to being established. Very, very clever, I say. We headed from there to Shiloh, where the Tabernacle was for 369 years before the Philistines took it. David Rubin, former mayor to the new city, talked about the verse in scripture “until Shiloh comes”, Shiloh meaning Messiah. Something to think about. He showed us around the Shiloh Israel Center for therapeutic and recreation center, a place created for victims of terrorism. There are three such places, and there are over 3,000 boys and girls who come. 3,000 little ones who have lost a parent, a family member, a neighbor, or have been themselves been affected by terror attacks.They have a petting zoo, as well as a horse farm to help with the therapy. We came there on Rosh Chodesh, the new moon, so the men of our group joined in with the boys on their side in the dancing celebration, and later as we walked through the girls’ side we took pictures and chattered with them. It was pretty cool. After that, we went up (again) to the Tel, or tabernacle ruins. There were excavation sites everywhere, as this is ancient Shiloh being unearthed, both the town and the tabernacle. An awesome thing to see and understand was that the Israelites came up to the tabenacle at least three times a year for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread, for Savu’ot, or Pentecost, and for Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. They came up and ate their offerings before the Lord in clay pots and vessels, but once they ate, they became holy, and couldn’t be used for common use, so the finished and shattered their vessels, not to be used again. The hillside is covered in pottery shards, and as we picked up these shards, it’s something to contemplate handling the vessels that they used to worship Elohim thousands of years ago. We had time to sit and reflect, and as I sat on what I later figured out to be approximately where the Holy of holies may have been, I was filled with a sense of peace that surpasses all understanding, and a feeling that settled in my heart that I was home. For one moment in time, I was really home. It was quite overwhelming. After lunch, we went to the home of Nati, a leader of several “settlements” who built them from nothing, over and over again. After he left the IDF, he and four of their friends wanted to do something more, so they started this project, Lev HaOlam, which takes products from the people of the area, puts them in a box and is sent to people who want to support Israeli products in response to the boycott. They have wine, jewelry, chocolate (It’s called Holy Cacao), skin care products, along with stories of the families who produce them. You really need to check out the site and sign up for the box. It’s so worth it! On the way to Jerusalem, we passed Beit El, where Jacob had his dream, also where Jeroboam built one of the false alters to lead the northern tribes of Israel away from true worship. And then there was evening and then there was morning, day two!

The Old City

So, our first stop in Jerusalem was the temple Mount. It was an ordeal. For all that they say that anyone can come up, we had a lot of warning. We had to be covered from neck to ankles, we couldn’t carry any religious items up whatsoever (bibles, christian shirts, etc), and we weren’t allowed to give any indication that we were praying or worshipping, not even moving our lips in silent prayer. It was totally arbitrary what they would allow from one day to the next. Three married couples where strongly admonished not to hold hands or touch, and one couple had to delete a photo of them with their arms around each other. This is the freedom they promise up there. We went down to the city in the Jewish quarter, and was introduced to the owner of a paint gallery, who was also a painter in his own right. What wonderful stories he had to tell. He spoke of being the first Jewish boy back in the old city, and running around the Kotel tunnels as his playground. One of the pictures that struck me is a picture of four Israeli soldiers at the Western Wall praying; you may have seen around. Udi, the owner, painted it as a sign of brotherhood and a freedom to worship. What a difference from the first part of our day. We walked around and had lunch, and then went to Shosherim, a shop in which everything testified of God. Every picture, every piece of Jewelry, every piece of clothing, to show God’s glory, and how we can spread His glory from there to wherever we go. Such amazing men who own the shop, and you could feel the love he had for anyone who would receive it. We came back to the hotel, had dinner, and had wonderful fellowship with the group. And evening came, and then there was morning, day three! More to come tomorrow!