Blogs from Bethlehem, West Bank, Israel, Middle East - page 2


Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem » Beit Sahour January 21st 2015

Bummer!!! We just found out that our wake-up call is going to be at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow, luggage out at 4:30. Ugh. This is going to be an abbreviated blog. We woke this morning to a beautifully clear day. We visited the Church of the Nativity and below it, the cave-stable of Jesus’ birth. We saw the shrine of the Holy Innocents, the infants killed by Herod the Great. We celebrated Mass at the cave where St. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin. Afterwards, we divided into small groups to share lunch at the homes of local Christian families. We waited by the side of the road for our rides. We arrived at the home of Georgette. Her son picked us up and came in and talked to us for awhile before he had to go ... read more
The Holy Innocents
Georgette and John
Georgette and Georgiana

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem January 20th 2015

Today we checked out of our hotel and traveled to Bethlehem with a few stops along the way. Our first stop was for a “coffee out” stop. When George our tour guide first said this, we looked at him quizzically and he just looked at us and said, “coffee in…coffee out.” We traveled through mountains, plains and plateaus. We saw shepherds herding their sheep, many, many crops covered with what looked like plastic to protect them from the elements including Mango trees and date trees. We finally came to the River Jordan which is the site of Jesus’ baptism by St. John the Baptist. We filled water bottles up with the water from the river to bring home. Father blessed all of our bottles and then we renewed our baptism promises. Some people were actually donning ... read more
John filling bottle with water from River Jordan.
Standing in the River Jordan
Copy of Dead Sea Scrolls

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem » Beit Jala December 18th 2014

Today started out with us catching an Arab bus from Damascus Gate and taking a trip into Palestine. It is there we find Bethlehem. Exiting the bus, we are greeted by what can only be described as the world's most annoying taxi driver. He followed us for a couple minutes chirping on about how the tourist area is 3km away and he could take us. First, I knew for a fact where we needed to go was just a 1km walk down Pope Paulus. Second, even if he was telling the truth, a 3km walk is nothing to us anyway. When ignoring him didn't work, we tried another tactic. We started answering him in Swedish. I used the few sentences I knew and Niklas did most of the babbling. By the end of the exchange, he ... read more
Manger Square
Where His Manger Was
His Exact Place of Birth

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem December 9th 2014

My phone alarm went off before the wake-up call at 6 AM. We were so grateful that we didn’t need to pack up our bags and move on again this morning. That really was getting old and reminded us both once again one of the big reasons that we like to cruise. Breakfast included one thing that’s been missing for me so far: oatmeal! The rest of the breakfast was much the same as we’ve seen with cheeses and meats. They did have scrambled eggs and those little hot dog things again. And they had these wonderful puff pastry triangles that I had to go back and get a second one because they were so good. Sharon pretty much stuck with the scrambled eggs and cinnamon roll. They were serving the same juice that they’d had ... read more
Church in Bethlehem
Children's choir at church in Bethlehem
Mass at the church in Bethlehem (How many priests do you need?)

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem October 10th 2013

BETHLEHEM AND THE ISRAEL MUSEUM - DAY 8 I went to Bethlehem this morning and was greeted by several surprises. First was going through the checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. It was smooth for us, but we had our passports in case they were needed. When we crossed into the West Bank we were joined by our new guide, Maher, who lives in Bethlehem and knows his subject well. We got into the Basilica and Grotto of the Nativity which also houses the Grotto of St. Jerome and the Church of St. Catherine. St. Jerome was responsible for the translation of the Bible to Latin. The grotto of the Nativity is the place where Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. I saw the place Jesus was ... read more

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem September 24th 2013

Palästina, so präsent dieser Begriff immer wieder in den Medien ist, so wenig wissen Doch die meisten von uns darüber, wie die Menschen hier leben. Denn die palästinensischen Selbstmordattentäter die die Medien beherrschen sind mit Sicherheit nur das eine Extrem, dem auf der anderen Seite die extremistischen Juden, die ebenfalls eine Minderheit darstellen, gegenüber stehen. Und doch scheint es keinen Frieden, keine Lösung geben zu können. Omer erklärt uns bei einem Glas Wein am Abend vor unserem Ausflug ins Westjordanland, dass es für ihn als Israeli zu gefährlich sei, dort hin zu reisen, dass er erwarte, dass seine Staatsangehörigkeit allein ausreiche um dort angegriffen zu werden. Und auf der anderen Seite werden zigtausende Araber, die täglich nach Jerusalem zum Arbeiten pendeln jeden Vormittag aufs Neue am Grenzübergang schikaniert und wie Illegale in ihrem eigenen L... read more
Geburtskirche Jesu in Bethlehem
Hier soll Jesus geboren sein

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem May 9th 2013

O' Little Town of Bethlehem...How different you are than the song! You are not so little. We drove through the border check between Israel and the West Bank which is Palestinian. We immediately pulled over so we could add a guide who was a Palestinian. He talked about how Bethlehem had changed since the birth of Christ and was happy to show us his city. This birthplace of Christ has sweeter meaning to Christians than any other place on Earth. The name Bethlehem means bread in Hebrew and Aramaic, and house of meat in Arabic. Bethlehem was mentioned in the Bible many times...with the death of Rachel; the friendship of Ruth and Boaz; the birth and anointing of King David and the birth of Jesus Christ. Bethlehem lies south of Jerusalem, surrounded by rolling hills that ... read more
Where Jesus was laid in a manger
Tim and his "Stars and Bucks"
Sign for Bethlehem

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem November 5th 2012

Bus 21 sieht um einiges abgewrackter aus, als die grünen Intercity-Busse von Egged. Die Klappen der Lüftungsschlitze sind kaputt und eisig kalte Luft bläst mir in den Nacken. Zu dumm, dass ich mein neues Palästinensertuch erst ein paar Stunden später kaufen werde. Um mich herum sitzen braun gebrannte Männer mit Silberketten um den Hals und Frauen in langen Gewändern und Kopftuch. Die Schilder vor dem Fenster kann ich nicht lesen. Das hebräische Aleph-Beth existiert in den Straßen um den arabischen Busbahnhof in Ost-Jerusalem kaum. Die Fahrt dauert vielleicht 45 Minuten. 40 Minuten davon schelte ich mich selbst für meine gemischten Gefühle und das beklemmende Gefühl, dass mir sämtliche Vorurteile gegenüber der arabischen Welt, in die Brust gezwängt haben. Schon von Weitem ist die massive Betonmauer zu sehen und ironischerweise springt mir das Wort "Ghetto" in den ... read more
Der Felsendom in Jerusalem
Ein paar arabische Kinder springen von einer Mauer
Hoch konzentriert

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem » Dheisheh Camp August 9th 2012

The young man's eyes were trained desperately on the two of us. He needed help. Not sure if we could trust him, I kept my mouth shut and let my friend handle it. My friend knew many people in the camp, but this one was unknown. He begged us for help, just five minutes he said. Please come. Why not? So we followed him around the corner to his home and entered. "Do you know Mohannad? The boy who used to live here?", we asked as we passed his house. "Yes, he's my cousin." "Where is he? Is he home?" "No, he's in prison again." His accent was thick and as we followed him into the home we wondered what he needed help with. He had us sit in a small living room with ancient falling-apart ... read more
Graffiti of a Martyr
Rooms of the camp
Kitchen in the camp

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem » Beit Sahour August 6th 2012

The Holy Land Said to be the most fought over real estate in history, just hearing the name of the Holy Land brings spiritual and exotic thoughts to the minds of people all around the world. It serves as the holiest place for all of the three Abrahamic religions, hence the name "The Holy Land", and has been fought over this for this reason, and political reasons, for thousands of years. As a Christian I'm very excited and feel blessed to get to visit this land and walk where Jesus walked. These hills were once shepherded by Jesus himself and this is where his teachings began. The land here has memories. The hills, the trees, the stones, and the seas. They have witnessed some of the most important events regarding the fate of mankind. And this ... read more
West Bank Security Checkpoint
Streets of Bethlehem
The Berlin Wall...I mean the "separation wall"

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