Blogs from Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel, Middle East

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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem June 24th 2014

Advice to anyone coming to Israel anytime soon....spend as much time in Jerusalem as possible As we're sitting on the roof of our hotel/convent on our last night in the Holy Land, we are realizing how hard it will be to leave such a spiritually and historically packed place. We've spent two full days touring around Jerusalem and have one more half day before heading back to Tel Aviv to board our plane to the states. Not only will it be hard to leave behind all the cities and sites we won't be able to make it to, but we'll also miss out on the endless information that naturally flows from every place we've gone. But we've come to terms with the fact that there's always more to see, learn, and experience! We are going to ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem May 29th 2014

I'm back. It has sure been awhile - five months to be precise, and the second-longest travel hiatus I've had since starting the blog - so before we get started, a brief life update is in order. The last time I wrote, I was unemployed in the middle of winter. I managed to find a job one month later working for an events company where I work on loads of spreadsheets and not a lot else. I didn't have much idea of what my plan was at the time; where I was going to go, what I was going to do, and indeed how much longer I was going to be in London. On top of trying to settle into my new job, this made it difficult to plan any trips. Three months went past during ... read more
Dome Of The Rock
Tile Detail
Written Prayers

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem May 28th 2014

Yom Yerushalayim in Jerusalem is the anniversary of the June 1967 reunification of Jerusalem, when Israel gained control of the Old City of Jerusalem at the end of the Six Day War. We had seen many Israeli school and teen groups by the Wall on the eve of this day, Tuesday night, when we were visiting the Western Wall Tunnels, but when we arrived back around 4:30 pm from Masada it was even more incredible. Huge groups carrying dozens of full size Israeli flags (not the little ones on sticks the way we Americans do on Fourth of July) were headed up the avenue past our hotel to the big rally at the top of King George Street from where a march would happen in the early evening down from West Jerusalem to the Old City. ... read more
Maureen welcomes us to her home
At Maureen's apartment
Music on the roof with Rachel singing and Gila on violin

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem May 22nd 2014

I never really planned to go to Jerusalem. It is not that I planned not to go, but I was just so caught up in travelling around Eastern Europe. However, as my friend moved to Jordan with an invitation for me to visit her, my boyfriend suggested that we also visit Israel. While not on my travel wish list, I will have to admit that as a historian Jerusalem fascinates me. I have spent years studying the cultural and political meeting between East and West and the concepts of identity formation and nationalism through this meeting. One might say that it is in my very DNA to appreciate the symbolism which Jerusalem holds for so many people, and to want to become better acquainted with it myself - though on a less symbolic and more touristy ... read more
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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem May 21st 2014

Jerusalem is a dirty town which all Semitic religions have made holy... In it the united forces of the past are so strong that the city fails to have a present; its people with the rarest exceptions, are characterless as hotel servants, living on the crowd of visitors passing through.- T.E. Lawrence quoted in Scott Anderson's Lawrence in Arabia His words, though very undiplomatic, are just as befitting for 2014 as they were back in 1915 when Lawrence wrote them in a WW1 report to the British War Ministry on the situation in the Middle East. The old city, which lies within Suleiman's 500 year old walls, is a city which in many ways lives in the past rather than looking towards the future. Overcramped with souvenir shops selling Chinese produced religious symbols catering to Christians, ... read more
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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem May 13th 2014

Started the day at a tiny bakery with the most wonderful pastries and sandwiches. Breakfast was sesame bread with tuna salas and olives, pistachio baklava and shortbread cookies with dulce de leche caramel. Then on to shopping and a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and a tour of the tunnels under the Western Wall. After our tour we headed to an Arab village and had a lunch go lamb in yogurt, roasted eggplant in tomato and roast chicken stuffed with couscous.... read more
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29thApril Haifa, Israel Haifa is surrounded by Mount Carmel and the city is sometimes described as where ‘Carmel touches the sea’, it is Israel’s third largest city and he entry port to the Holy Land. As we had lost our visit to Egypt because of the troubles there we had an overnight in Israel as the alternative. There is plenty to see and do in Haifa, which is divided into three main parts, banking & commercial, Hador Carmel a residential area and Mount Carmel the main residential area. We hoped to explore Haifa on our own the second day if we had the time and energy. Our main focus on the first day was a visit to Jerusalem & Bethlehem. You obviously cannot do all the regions with only a two day stopover, other areas the ... read more
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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 29th 2014

Next year in Jerusalem! That is what we say when we finish reading the Hagadah (Jewish book) each year. When we read this phrase last year in Argentina, we didn’t know it would be for real! ***VERSION EN ESPAÑOL MÁS ABAJO*** This time around I, Dan, am going to write our blog in English and let Ana translate, since that makes writing significantly easier and faster versus me trying to first write it in Spanish. Over the last couple weeks we’ve had a whirlwind adventure through Israel and Turkey. We didn’t even mean to go to those places, but as everyone knows Europe is so small you can make a wrong turn and be in a different country or even end up in Asia. To our European friends, we are just kidding! Our plan was to ... read more
In Tel Aviv inside the taxi/van
With Arie
Pic says it all

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 13th 2014

We were scheduled for a tour of the tunnel under the Western Wall at 11. We went down to the Wall early and both Jack and I left notes praying for the same things. A little later we watching a group of police escort a young man shackled at his hands and feet shouting “Allah Akbar” through the plaza. We thought it was an isolated agitator. This was our second tour of the tunnel. Since we had done this 20 years ago, the tunnel had been substantially extended. Seeing the stones of the second temple is very moving. Along the way you pass two huge stones, the larger of which is 45 feet long and weighs as much as 2 fully loaded 747s. It is a mystery how they were ever put in place. On our ... read more
Israeli Democracy
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IDF

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem March 30th 2014

Today started out at the church built at over St Joachim & Anne’s house, the birth place of the Blessed mother. A lovely church renowned for its acoustics, if you are a singer, and every group that came in there sang. I took a video of one group that I’ll include when I compile all this at home. From that beautiful spot we walked over to the spot where Pontius Pilot’s palace was. The spot where Jesus was condemned, scourged, crowned with thorns and lead to his execution. Doing this the 4th Sunday in Lent was really heart rending. The stations ended on Calvary in the church of the Holy Sepulcher where we were twice before. The cruelty, violence and humiliation of those events were brought to my heart in a real and terrifying way. Good ... read more
The cave in which the Blessed Mother may have been born
Mary & Her Mother
The place where Jesus was Condemned & whipped




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