Blogs from Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel, Middle East


Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem December 15th 2018

"Non รจ la prima volta e non sara' l'ultima. Ma ieri e' corso il sangue dentro la Basilica del Santo Sepolcro dopo che l'ennesima disputa tra pope greco -ortodossi e monaci armeni e' degenerata in una rissa da saloon, a calci e pugni, ceri branditi come bastoni, tabernacoli rivoltati, inseguimenti e agguati nella penombra delle navate, i pellegrini in fuga terrorizzati. Con intervento finale della polizia israeliana in tenuta antisommossa e arresto di due tra i piu' focosi contendenti." No, non e' la prima volta e non sara' nemmeno l'ultima che il Mercante vi racconta cazzate ma in questo caso e' tutto vero: il virgolettato e' preso parola per parola da La Repubblica del 10 Novembre 2008 e comunque questo genere di "battibecchi" sono davvero frequenti. Ma come siamo messi quest'anno in vista del Sacro Natale? ... read more
Cupola della Roccia
Muro del Pianto
Tel  Aviv vista da Jaffa

Coming to Isreal's official memorial to the victim's of the Holocaust was a requirement for my trip and one I do not regret. But first order of business, I needed to get my Rav Kav card! What is it? The transportation card that allows you to use the bus/light rail system. So, off I went to find the central station. I got onto bus 75 and the driver was so helpful. He told me when to get off and where to go. Into Central Station I went up to the 3rd floor and I followed the Rav Kav signs. Got my number and waited in line. Before I knew it, my number was called. Even though the clerk did not speak English, we were able to communicate enough that I was given my card! How cool ... read more
Yad Veshem
View at the end of the tour
Lunch spot

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 30th 2018

This was one of my must do activities while I was here. I specifically packed my Nana's rosary to bring to Isreal to carry it with me during this particular pilgrimage. I awoke this day and spent a good hour having coffee with Lori and finding out about her life while telling her a bit about mine. Then, it was time to head out and back to the old city. While there are tours that you can buy, I wanted to go it alone. However, finding the starting point was a bit harder than I had expected. I did stumble onto the first station but I apparently looked very lost. A gentleman asked if I wanted a guide and I totally took him up on it. I hired him and he took me to each station ... read more
Station 1
Station 2 - Jesus takes up the cross
Station 2 - Flagellation Chapel

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 29th 2018

So last day in Tel Aviv...what to do? After a wonderful breakfast I headed back to the beach. I spent the next couple of hours walking in the water, looking out to the Mediteranian and enjoying the peace that comes with the water. Then it became decision time...because I am not Jewish, nor am I familiar with their customs, when I was planning this trip, I planned my travel days on Saturday. Big mistake! Why? Because of Shabbat! Pretty much everything shuts down Friday night and doesn't start up again until Sunday. So that means no public transportation. Private taxi it is then. With that comes more freedom of choice. So, do i go early or later? I decided to head back to Jaffa and go later...benefit of traveling alone, I get to make all the ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 29th 2018

I was so excited to get to the old city I was out the door by 8am! And considering this was the first night I slept the whole night through and didnt get up until 7:15, you can see I was anxious to get out the door! Stopped at the Train Station for coffee and off I went to explore... The Old City is a little over a mile away...perfect. As I was walking I couldn't help but admiring the view and when I was able to spy the walls of the old city...breath taking! Along my walk I met an older gentleman that was walking my way and we fell into conversation. I informed him that my goal was to tour the Tower of David today and then explore. He was so very gracious about ... read more
Old city!
Walkways in Old City

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 22nd 2018

Three of us left at 6:30AM this chilly grey morning to walk in the Western Wall tunnels; the other thirteen members in our group had chosen not to go, not to wake up and be out and about so early in the morning. Zvi drove our very small group in his car to a parking lot nearby, and then we walked in a downpour to the entrance of the tunnels. No people other than maintenance workers were in the tunnels so early, so we were able to walk through at our own pace, stopping whenever Zvi chose to offer us more history. I had thought Osama, our guide in Jordan, was exceptional, but Zvi, an Israeli, is an historian, not only knowing all about Israel's and Palestine's past, but also extremely knowledgeable about all the religions ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem March 16th 2018

Visiting Israel evokes a reaction from friends and family. Isn't it dangerous? What about the Palestinians, the wall, Gaza? Why go, you're not religious? Well, Jerusalem isn't the little town I'd read about in the bible as a child. It is a modern city with traffic jams and super-trams. But there are so many names we half-remember. The Mount of Olives offers us a great view of the old city. The Garden of Gethsemane still contains olive trees. There are also sites and names that we remember from more recent news programs. Getting to the Al Aksa mosque and the Dome of the Rock requires queuing and being security screened. The same is true to visit the western, or wailing, wall. But it is all very civilised and polite. Three religions have a claim, a need, ... read more
Old Jerusalem
Reading in the synagogue
Church of the Nativity

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 21st 2018

Today has been a laid back sort of day. We went to the Israeli Museum where we got to see a small portion of the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as many other artifacts. The bulk of the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept in Jerusalem but are not out for the public viewing. The Israeli Antiquities Council provides the care and safety. The museum also has a model of ancient Jerusalem and the temple. It is very interesting to see the places we have visited and to see just how Jerusalem looked in Biblical times. When we left this museum we went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum of Israel. I had been there before but it is so full of information that one visit would not be enough to see everything. Actually two visits isn't ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 20th 2018

Today we visited the birthplace of John The Baptist at Ein Karem. The family actually had two houses - one in the valley and one on the high hill where they spent the summers to escape the heat. It is believed that Mary (mother of Jesus) visited Elizabeth at the one in the hills. John The Baptist is believed to have been born in the house in the valley. John the Baptist was one of the babies that should have been killed when Herod ordered all the boys under the age of two to be put to death, however hie was hidden and saved. The church built on the site of the winter home is one of the most beautiful church I've seen. It is filled with beautiful ceramic tile from floor to ceiling. The pictures ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 19th 2018

Wow! We had a busy day today! following breakfast we boarded the bus for the Mount of Olives where we had a group picture taken. Then we walked down the road that Jesus took into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We stopped first at the Church Dominus Flevit (The Lord Wept). "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, 'If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace - but now it is hidden from your eyes." Luke 19:41-42. The chapel was constructed in the form of a teardrop in 1955 on the ruins of an ancient church. It overlooks the Eastern Wall of Jerusalem and the Golden Gate through which the Messiah will appear at the end of time. Surrounding the Eastern Gate are ... read more

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