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…