Blogs from Israel, Middle East


Middle East » Israel » Center District » Rehovot August 14th 2019

I don't remember having such a stressful day before a trip before. Flights cancelled and re-set, lack of information about entering South Africa which if we didn't find out our two youngest would have had to return home, passport name issue. Things to remember: *Not a great idea to have two different country passports (American and Israeli) with two different names (of the same person) on each. What can I say, I am a woman of many identities. *READ ALL EMAILS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM when corresponding with travel agent. *If you are planning a trip to South Africa with children under the age of 18, make sure you have their birth certificates in English. *Do NOT do early check in online for 8 people all at the same time. El Al decided they needed to ... read more
Visiting Mom at work day we leave
Weizmann Library children’s corner
Someone’s unhappy we’re leaving

Middle East » Israel » Center District » Rehovot August 13th 2019

Tomorrow night is the Big Moment and we are in a whirlwind of preparations. Clothes, food, binoculars, drugs (Advil and malaria pills people), travel games, battery packs, shoes are everywhere. But it's the little things, like entertainment for the long African nights, that we can't forget. I've prepared all the movies I can think about related to Africa to put on a disc on key to bring with us. Out of Africa, The African Queen, The Gods Must Be Crazy, A United Kingdom (which I already watched and found very interesting, thanks to my lovely friend Sarah), and.... ...the whole series of Ally McBeal! I know. Not about Africa. But a fun show that my kids would never see if they weren't stuck inside on a warm African night :). Any other suggestions?... read more

Middle East » Israel » Center District » Rehovot August 5th 2019

Nine days till our Safari Adventure! Adam has been planning the entire trip since November (2018) and it will be a fun We wpacked African Adventure in three different countries; Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. The travelers include the Strauss clan, Bubbe Barbara Kaufman, and our niece, Rotem. Shaya and Rotem both just finished their Army service (Shaya for 2.8 years and Rotem for 4.8 - she was a Commander). Today, we went to get all the needed vaccinations. We were supposed to go two weeks ago but the nurses decided to strike that day and it got pushed off. I needed four shots! Tetanus/Polio, Measles:Mumps:Rubella, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Apparently, if you are a 70's child you only received one MMR shot and you really should have two... Adam, Noam and I got the MMR ... read more
From Soldier to Civilian
International vaccination travel card

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District June 22nd 2019

We celebrated our final Eucharist as a 36 member pilgrim group today. 1/3 from Holy Nativity Church, Florida, 1/2 from Diocese of Delaware, and the Shimers and Coerpers affiliated with St. James' Skaneateles, NY. We are at a Convent overlooking the valley beyond Jerusalem at a suggested site of the Emmaus story, where Jesus, after his crucifixion, reveals himself to Cleophas. The Dean of St. George's College, our host, preached on our pilgrim journey in life. Though this pilgrimage has just ended, we are encouraged to continue the journey and walk with Jesus, as He is always waiting for us to do. Where is He leading us? What is He calling us to do and be? In who will we see Jesus? Where will He be revealed to us next? I am reminded of verse 2 ... read more
emmaus final eucharist 2

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District June 21st 2019

We walked the ancient and original Way of the Cross with prayers and Scripture readings at each of 14 stations today through the streets of Jerusalem, ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre situated on the stone of Golgotha where the 3 crosses are believed to have been and next and including the tomb where we think Jesus was laid. Whoa!!!! Pilgrims have been coming to this site since the 4th century and still today - we had to wait in line with hundreds of other pilgrims over an hour to see the tomb in which Jesus body was laid... An Orthodox Church from America sang chants while they were in line. We read the Passion reading on the rock of the crosses. And then the Holy Saturday reading for the Easter Vigil outside the ... read more
way of the cross
doors to Holy Sepulchre
church of the Holy Sepulchre

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District June 20th 2019

Today we enacted Jesus Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, starting at the Mt of Olives in Bethphage where He was with his disciples before asking for a donkey to ride into the city gates which we could see 1/2 mile across the Kidron Valley. The first church we went in has the altar sitting atop the suggested rock from which Jesus got onto the donkey. Then we walked as pilgrims down the mountain. Then we stopped in the "The Church of Tears", named for Jesus weeping as He knows what is coming. Then passed the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world, on our way to the Garden of Gethsemanee, where olive trees over 1000 years old still reside and bear olives! The rock where we suppose Jesus went to pray in the garden with his disciples (a ... read more
1000 yr old olive tree

Middle East » Israel » West Bank June 19th 2019

Visit to the River Jordan and swimming in the Dead Sea. The River Jordan is mighty small, connecting the Dead Sea, over 1000 ft below sea level, and the Sea of Galilee. We renewed our Baptismal vows standing in the river, with the country of Jordan only 10 ft away, across the river.. John the Baptist stood in the same river to baptize Jesus and others. In our liturgy we sang a wonderful hymn (I think 297 in the hymnal) to the tune of Morning has Broken.. The last verse is "Baptized in water, sealed by the Spirit, marked with the sign of Christ our King; born of the Father, we are his children, joyfully now God's praise we sing." . After renewing our vows from the Book of Common Prayer liturgy, we sang "Down to ... read more
dead sea kip
dead sea

Middle East » Israel » West Bank June 18th 2019

a highlight of our visit on Sunday. we visited the the basilica (a Catholic church with particular significance), of the Annunciation built over the well and possible house where the Virgin Mary lived as a girl. Parts of that actual building and a later 4th century church on the same site are incorporated into the present church built in 1960. It is a wonderful vision of preserving old with new. The lower church preserves the 1st century remains and has a feeling of a womb. The upper church includes and entire wall from the 4th century church and has a brilliant feeling of light and space, and includes artwork commissioned from around the world of the Virgin Mary - fabulously creative pieces. Here is a picture that tries to incorporate a bit of both spaces. A ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District June 18th 2019

"Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem" - words i would encourage us all to pray regularly. Jerusalem is an amazingly holy city. Muslims, Jews, and Christians inhabit this place side by side. You hear the Muslim call to prayer on loudspeakers sometimes 5 times a day. You hear the Jewish call for sabbath to begin on Friday evening, You hear church church bells announcing Mass several times throughout the day. No competition - simply witness. And I must say devout Jews and devout Muslims humble me and my faith. They both wear their faith way more visibly than I do. This picture of Jewish men at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount saying prayers is a great example. The women were in the same place on the other side of a simple fence. On the ... read more

Middle East » Israel » West Bank June 14th 2019

We visited places related to Jesus birth today. the home town of Elizabeth, the place where Mary and Eiizabeth probably had their discussion about being pregnant with John and Jesus that is shared in Luke. These places - Mary's spring and The Church of the Visitation, are so old. The well from the 4th century church remains. Then we saw the Church of the Nativity built over the site of Jesus' presumed birth place by Constantine in 339 AD. The building standing today remains from 659 AD when Justinian revised the building with an altar area - same columns and mosaic floor Constantine had built and same wooden beamed roof - 1500 years old. The oldest church in the world where worship has continued ever since then, and 4 congregations share the holy space, even worshiping ... read more
Church of the Nativity

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