A Journal, with Pictures

Jerusalem and Bethlehem

by on Apr.05, 2022, under Happenings

Because it’s the Sab­bat, (Sab­bath) we rearranged our sched­ule and vis­it­ed the Nation­al Art and His­to­ry Muse­um and got a taste of both. We sam­pled Israeli art, which reflects its tumul­tuous his­to­ry. We viewed arti­facts from that his­to­ry, includ­ing syn­a­gogues from around the world and sig­nif­i­cant ruins mark­ing peri­ods includ­ing the Bib­li­cal peri­od. We then had a very inter­est­ing lunch with Khaled Abu Toameh, a Pales­tin­ian jour­nal­ist who gave us his per­spec­tive on Jewish/Palestinian rela­tions. We then met our Pales­tin­ian guide Kamal, who takes us into the West Bank Ter­ri­to­ry to the Church of the Nativ­i­ty, the birth­place of Jesus.

Our sec­ond day in Jerusalem, Israel’s cap­i­tal city, began with a panoram­ic view from the Mount of Olives. Where we saw the City of David and the walled city of Jerusalem. We vis­it­ed two Catholic Church­es on the Mount of Olives both archi­tect­ed by Anto­nio Bar­luzzi. The first, Domi­nus Fleuit Church, is shaped like a tear to com­mem­o­rate Jesus shed­ding tears with his dis­ci­ples before his arrest. The sec­ond is the Basil­i­ca of the Agony where a rock marks the spot of shed tears. In the adjoin­ing olive gar­den are trees that date over 2000 years that could have been there at the time of Christ.

We then drove to the street that sep­a­rates the City of David which is below the ancient walled city of Jerusalem. We explored a por­tion of Davids City that is under exca­va­tion with dis­cov­er­ies con­nect­ed to bib­li­cal events, then crossed the street to the entrance of the old city of Jerusalem. We vis­it­ed the West­ern Wall where  Ortho­dox Jews pray. We then walked the Via Dolorosa, (Latin Sor­row­ful Way). We start at the Church of the Con­dem­na­tion and Impo­si­tion, the Church of the Fla­gel­la­tion described in the Bible as where Jesus was tried, put on the cross, and flogged by the Romans. We then pro­ceed under the Ecce Homo arch men­tioned in the Bible and up the wind­ing street by the sta­tions of the cross (14 in all). Each sta­tion is marked on the wall with a met­al mark­er with the numer­al and a cast­ing depict­ing the sta­tion such as each of the three falls. The last five sta­tions are in the Church of the Holy Sepul­chre where Jesus was cru­ci­fied, entombed, and accord­ing to the bible was res­ur­rect­ed. We then vis­it­ed the site that is said to be where the Last Sup­per took place. This is a long walk back into bib­li­cal his­to­ry and it’s a long day of walk­ing, Joyce’s step meter reg­is­tered over 12,ooo steps, most­ly uphill.

Yad Vashem Holo­caust Cen­ter is Israel’s loca­tion for research­ing, doc­u­ment­ing, and telling the incred­i­ble facts relat­ing to the mur­der of 6.000.000 Jews dur­ing WWII. David Olesker is our guide for this expe­ri­ence. He takes us through the pre-war anti­semitism that exist­ed in Europe, the Nazi obses­sion with “racial puri­ty” and their dis­pos­ses­sion, con­cen­tra­tion, and sys­tem­at­ic mur­der by the Ger­mans and their col­lab­o­ra­tors. The muse­um uses indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ences to illus­trate man’s inhu­man­i­ty to man on an unprece­dent­ed scale. Housed in the large cir­cu­lar mul­ti­sto­ry room are row upon row of books con­tain­ing the infor­ma­tion about those who were put to death. There are also pic­tures of some of the vic­tims, In the gar­den out­side the muse­um are trees plant­ed to hon­or those who helped to mit­i­gate the mas­sacre, includ­ing one made famous by the movie Schindlers list. No pho­tog­ra­phy was per­mit­ted in the museum.

The mar­ket area of Jerusalem is a great pho­to op and to make it more inter­est­ing we are guid­ed by Deda along with Jere­my to sam­ple eth­nic foods from both Israel and sur­round­ing countries.

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