Israel Day Fourteen. Headed HOME

I had spent all but a few shekels I was taking home with me for friends. So my tour friend Clara from Australia let me use her image of the Israeli money. These are Shekels from 1/2 to 20 shekels (the bill), we also had 50s as well. It was strange to hand over a 20 and only get coins back! Because they have a 5, 10 and 2….our change from a 20 could be all coins.

#takenbyclara

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Here are 2- 1 shekel close up. The Shekel was = to an American .25…so it took 4 shekels to make $1.

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We loaded our luggage one last time onto the bus and ¬†it us drove west, seeing parts of Jerusalem we hadn’t seen yet. I said my goodbyes to this beautiful city as we headed out and sun rose.

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We made the trek from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. It only took 45 mins! Our tour guide¬†went with us to the airport and so we got some more history lessons on the way. Yeah! ¬†The first place we came to was Abu Ghosh, the modern Arabic name for the biblical city of Emmaus! ¬†We were driving on¬†the road where Yeshua walked up on his Uncle Clopas and another disciple after his resurrection. They were on the way to tell everyone that He had risen! He walked with them and taught them….without them even recognizing Him! When they reached the city they invited him to eat with them. As was the custom the guest of the dinner says the Kiddush before the meal, the blessing over the bread and the wine. When Yeshua lifted up the bread and said the b’rakhah over the Matzah, they immediately recognized Him and He disappeared. They RAN all the way back to Jerusalem to tell everyone they had seen Him!

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Next we crossed through the Elah Valley! This is a famous Biblical place. Y’hoshua [Joshua] had the sun stand still during a battle here {I just heard a teaching on this…and think of how this affected the rest of the planet! People in other countries, not knowing what was going on!} Shim’shon¬†[Samson] a judge of Israel had a fling with Delilah here. And a shepherd boy name David killed a giant from Gat [Gath] named¬†Gol’yat [Goliath] here!

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And in no time we arrived at the airport. A couple of us that were grilled coming, were gearing ourselves up for more of it, since we figured we were “marked” now.

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Since our Tour Guide was with us, and I had thought to put the “gift” we were given by our travel agent, (so we could honestly answer that we had received a gift from someone while we were here and produce it), at the very top of my suitcase, where it could be easily gotten, we all passed through smoothly with NO issues! PTL!

And I was soon waiting at my first gate with Mary & Phil, after grabbing breakfast to go and stopping at a gift shop and finding a mini prayer-book I had looked all over Israel for!

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One of my two friends from Ohio found us.  When we boarded we found that all 10 of us would have been in the same row again, but Mary & Phil had upgraded for more leg room, so she could put her knee up.

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We flew the 10 hours to Brooklyn, NY! This time it was better as it wasn’t a Holyday…so instead of the plane being filled with Chasidim, it was filled with college age “Birthright Tour” students {they get to go on a tour completely FREE of charge, if they can prove they are Jewish}. I sat next to one of these young men and we shared all the places we got to visit.

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#NewYork

I had NO problems catching my next flight to Atlanta and then home to Mobile. But EVERYONE else on my tour got stuck in Brooklyn because of the LONG customs lines and had to stay a night in a hotel before getting home the next day! I am SO thankful I booked my own flight and booked it later in the evening just incase… I had plenty of time to get through customs, get my tiny peice of luggage from the plane and then have time to go out and back in through another terminal, back through security¬†again, check my luggage (since I had the honey) and catch my next flight!ūüėČ

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My hubby picked me up and carried my tiny luggage for me to the car.

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#MobileAlabama

It really was a trip of a LIFETIME and I pray I get to go again someday. But for now I was so glad to be HOME.

Israel Day Thirteen. Municipal, Shrine of the Book & Jerusalem Day

Today we were up and raring to go as this was our last full day in Israel! ¬†The entire time I was in Jerusalem, I kept looking for a place to buy stamps. NONE to be found and EVERYONE kept telling me to go to the Post Office near the Jaffe [Yaffe] Gate. Problem was I didn’t know WHERE the Jaffe Gate was!

So, this morning our bus drops us off downtown at this place along the Old City wall. It’s gorgeous. I get my camera out to take a picture to the left of me and notice a gate at the end of this sidewalk. Think nothing of it. On the way back to the bus at this very spot again, our tour guide says as we are loading on the bus, that’s The Jaffe Gate! OY! Somewhere over there is a Post Office with stamps, I would NOT be buying. Argh! So, I hand delivered my post cards to everyone {A better picture of the gate later}.

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We walked an uphill block to the Jerusalem Municipal Building. Meeting our other bus, but then separating once again for our tour. While we waited for our Tour guide to arrive, as she was running late….I noticed you could look out through an arch in the NEW building and see some of the OLD city. So cool.

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Someone noticed a bunch of us had the same brand shoes….and someone else didn’t get the memo. Hee hee! She just saw us doing this and jumped in.

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This is the Jerusalem Municipal Building. Brand new construction, and some was not complete. We went inside through metal detectors and up stairs…

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To the Government of Israel’s ROUND Table room. Above each section of the “round table” was the crest of the 12 Tribes (Pictured here are Yehudah and Levi).

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She took us outside on the balcony to see the city overview from there, but I was not feeling too good, so I went back in, took some medicine and sat in one the leather chairs and stayed in the A/C. About 10 mins later when they came back in, I was feeling better. I did get these two shots before going back in:

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Next she took us to another floor (I think in the basement) and we saw a HUGE scale model of Jerusalem. This is looking at the city of Jerusalem from the Northeast. The glass buildings are projected buildings in the plans to be built soon. Jerusaelm will be getting more skyscrapers. In the bottom image center-left…you can see the Chords¬†Bridge aka Bridge of Strings, which we will pass later in real life.

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Then I went around to the other side and found the Temple Mount complex on the Eastside of Jerusalem. Here is a close up of the model.

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These two were taken from the Southeast corner of the Jerusalem.  The second one shows more of the Quarters of Jerusalem. {There is four of them, the Jewish, Muslim, Armenian, and Christian Quarters.} The Muslim is the largest. We walked through it to leave the Western Wall tunnels on the Via Dolorosa and then walked through the Armenian Quarter to get to the Jewish Quarter.

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Lastly, she took us outside  and showed us around the complex. We saw the oldest Hospital in Jerusalem. A REALLY old mosaic map that only had a tiny piece of the Americas on it! And Israel was in the center like it should be!

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There were planted beautiful Palms and other trees, and even a little park.  

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Here is where another COOL G-d Moment came in. A little back story first: My roommate had been given some prayers written on pieces of paper from people at her congregation to put in the Wall, while we were there praying. Well, she had forgotten to get them out and put them in the wall! She felt terrible for DAYS! She was hoping there would be an opportunity or some free time to go back to the Wall. The ONLY opportunity that presented itself was later today….but she was TORN….because we were invited to participate in the Jerusalem Day parade, which she badly wanted to be involved in AND she had no one to go with her, in a taxi to the Wall, and knew she shouldn’t go by herself. She truly was deeply perplexed and to the point of tears. As we were walking through the garden area, I was consoling her and trying to come up with ideas for her. There were some ladies who wanted to¬†shop some more in the Jewish Quarter, maybe she could go with them and have the taxi stop near the Wall first. But then she would definitely miss the parade. I patted her shoulder and said the L-RD WILL find a way…not to worry.

At this point I walked away from her for a couple of minutes to take some pictures. When I walked back up to her we had walked through a large group of IDF soldiers. She was on the other side of them and was now bawling her eyes out! I walked up to her and another man NOT FROM OUR GROUP who saw her and was concerned. He spoke to her in Spanish! and she answered him, that she was ok that these were happy tears and then said the same to me in English. Whew!

Well, come to find out, when I had walked away from her, one of the IDF soldiers had seen she was upset and came over to talk to her. She explained her dilemma. He told her that this unit of IDF soldiers were getting ready to leave here and GO TO THE WALL! He asked her to trust him with the letters and that HE WOULD PUT THEM IN THE WALL FOR HER! She gave them to him and profusely thanked and hugged him.

Then they separated and I walked back up to her…with her bawling. When she told me what happened I about fainted. The L-RD is truly AMAZING! Not only did he take care of those letters/prayers but he literally had an ARMY escort them there! I was BLOWN AWAY!

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We finished up here and walked back to the Jaffe Gate area to get on our bus. Here is a better picture of the gate.

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Next stop was literally downtown Jerusalem. I loved this Olive tree in the round-about.

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We drove pass the famous Chords¬†Bridge. We saw a Noach’s Ark on top of a shopping mall and the Israeli Supreme Court (that has a black Illuminati pyramid on top the building)…..then we drove right past Bibi’s office… that is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (building with the ivy all over it, on the bottom left of the image).

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We drove on down to the Shrine of The Book. Now…THIS I had been waiting all these 14 days to go to!!! And I was NOT disappointed.

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We went inside the museum, where our other bus was. They were eating in the museum’s Panini restaurant. We waited our turn. Which meant we got to tour the outdoor 1:50 scale model! I left the people in the image to show you scale. A man built this in honor of his son who died in the Six-Day War. It represents Jerusalem in 66 AD, which is right before the Jewish Revolt and the Roman destruction in 70 AD. Jerusalem was at its largest size (back then) and basically in its glory days. People from all over the known world traveled to see Jerusalem, the city where G-d put His name!¬†FB2A-500x500

Bewteen the two people in the image on the right is the Kidron Valley and they are standing where the Mount of Olives is. Starting at the point where the man in blue is and around to the left is the Hinnom Valley. Directly in front of the man, to a slight left of his shoulder and up past the Temple Mount is the Tyropean Valley. These 3 valleys create the shape the letter shin in Hebrew (pictured above). Shin represents one of G-d’s names: “Shaddai,” which means Almighty. So when you add “El” to the front, it’s “G-d Almighty.” The mountains are beginning on the far right: the Mount of Olives (Kidron valley), Mount Moriyah (Tyropean Valley), (the wrong) Mount Tziyon (Hinnom Valley). The Beit HaMiqdash sits up there like the dot on the left of the shin!

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I took a Panorama image with my iPhone but it was too large to manipulate for my blog….so I pieced one together for you.

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Close up of the models Beit HaMiqdash. I see Bo’az and Yakhin, the 2 pillars on the front. The gold doors that wouldn’t stay shut after Yeshua’s crucifixion. But I especially love seeing the 15 steps that the Hallel (Psalm 113-118) were sung from and the Songs of Ascent as the Priest ascended them. And in the bottom left image you can see the barrier that kept the Gentiles and unclean Jews out (with a sign threatening bodily harm if they crossed it).

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Just me and the Beit HaMiqdash..taking a selfie.

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Next I zoomed in to show you close ups of the southern end of the Temple Mount. This side was the Royal Stoa. Under which was Solomon’s Colonnade or Porch, that runs along around the entire complex. {Remember this is where the gray domed Al-Aqsa Mosque sits now}.

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Here are a couple of artists renditions of what this might have looked like inside. This is where the Rabbis would gather with their disciples and teach. We see Yeshua at 12 sitting here after Passover with the Rabbis {Hillel and Shammai} discussing things that astonished them. And then we later see him here with his disciples, teaching the crowds.

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Here is a good shot of the Eastern/Golden Gate to which Messiah will walk through upon His return! ¬†This is most likely the area (under the Porch area) where the Assembly of Believer’s in Yeshua the Messiah, met near after the prayers daily. Because they expected Messiah to return SOON and they wanted to be there when He did!

The bottom image is the model’s version of the Southern Steps we stood on. These may look a little different from the actual ones, because they were just recently excavated. There was a sign saying they try to keep up with updates of new discoveries on the model, but it takes time. {They based the model, with the guidance of a Hebrew University Professor, using mostly Josephus, the Talmud and a few other sources.}

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This is looking from the South towards the Southern Wall & Steps. You can see Robinson’s Arch and Wilson’s Bridge as well as Herod’s Hippodrome, that was used for chariot racing. This is a good view of the City of David, though his palace was gone by then and Queen Helena of Adiabene had built palaces for her and her son there. And at the bottom left, is the Pool of Siloam. Now that is has been found and excavated, it will have to be redone as well. THIS is where the 3,000 were mikvah‘d on Shav’uot!

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The next collage moves around to the Southwest and Western (back of the Temple) areas. The asterisks show ¬†where Herod’s Palace was. Also look for the red roofs. Directly in front of Herod’s Palace was the upper Market. More southeast was Herod’s Theatre. Over to the south of Herod’s Palace we can see the High Priest’s Palace complex (where Yeshua was tried illegally at night and Shim’on Kefa‘s denial three times took place). In front of there is what’s called David’s Tomb (pyramid topped tower), but this is NOT where King David is buried and neither is the other site where people go today and pray over the cement grave in a room, that by Christian’s is considered “THE Upper Room” (which is not true either). These are most likely graves of a crusader knight (the tower) and a wealthy man (Upper Room). The Bible tells us clearly that King David was buried IN the city that bears his name. Which has now been found and excavated, but no one wants to change what they have “thought” and venerated all these years. Same goes for what are called Zachariah’s and Absalom’s tombs.

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Continuing around the back (central west side) I zoomed in to what is today the Kotel/Western wall.

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This is looking at where I am standing to take the top picture from the front of the Temple, zooming in. You can see some of Herod’s Palace and the Hasmonean Palace near the Temple Complex.

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This is looking from the front again as well…and to the North of the complex…which attached to the Northern Wall, was the Fortress Antonia. This is where the Roman Army kept watch for uprisings and revolts in the city but especially on the Temple Mount. And very seriously during the three pilgrimage Holydays. This is most likely the real place where Yeshua stood before Pilate, was whipped and carried His crossbeam from. The bottom left would be where the Via Dolorosa started. (Also where Sha’ul/Paul was held in prison until he was transferred to Caesarea.)

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This is the rock quarry, which is the MOST LIKELY place of Yeshua’s execution as this is OUTSIDE the walls of the city, as you can clearly see here. And it is also along a road where many would pass by. This is where today sits that large hotel with the black windows in the pictures of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives on Day Ten.)

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You can see the rock quarry north of the old city in the center here. Around back to the front (northeast) is the double Pools of Bethesda [Beit Chesed -House of Mercy/Healing] that were outside the Sheep Gate. This is where Yeshua healed the lame man on the Sabbath. These pools and the miracle their were thought to be fiction in the Gospel of John, until their excavation which proved it true, down to the description of the 5 porticos! (of course)

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A wall mosaic of the important sites in the model.

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I wish we had time to go over and see the Ahava letters [alef, hei on top and vet, alef on the bottom – which spells Love], stacked up like the ones in Philadelphia, PA. {I got my daughter-in-law a pair of silver earrings with Ahava like this from the gift shop.} There was much more to the park, but we only had time to go through the actual Shrine of the Book museum.

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I was excited for ONE thing. Yes, I wanted to see the Dead Sea Scrolls…but I have seen them in America with a traveling exhibit. The whole scroll of Isaiah was cool! ¬†And I wanted to see the clay pots they were found it and many other scrolls and artifacts found too. But what I was most excited to see and wasn’t allowed to take pictures of was….the Tefillim [phylacteries] that were found that were closer to the postage stamp size that Yeshua wore in His day! I found them! They were tiny compared to the ones worn today. And they still held the four scrolls of scripture. So cool. Remember Yeshua didn’t get on to the Pharisees for WEARING them, He got on to them for enlarging them and lengthening their Tzitzit [tassels] (making them long enough to drag the ground!).

After we ate and shopped in the gift shop… we loaded back up on the bus headed back to our hotel to pack. Half of our tour group were leaving for the airport late tonight and the rest of us would leave in the morning. I went ahead and got organized and packed as well. Then I went up to the roof to my “usual spot.” I was contemplating whether or not to go to the Jerusalem Day parade. I had planned on going all along, but something in my spirit said no, after I found out that the Muslim high-holy day began at sunset that day. I had brought my camera up with me to the roof. I wasn’t sure what the parade route was, but just incase I could see it from the roof, I could get some cool pictures.

Music was playing loudly, Israel and Jerusalem flags were everywhere in the city. At one point I had stood up and looked over the wall of the hotel and saw an obviously off duty IDF solider in plain clothes, carrying a machine gun, headed to the parade. This was confirmation that I was NOT going. Better safe than sorry, as I WAS getting on that plane home tomorrow.

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My roommate and friends who all went said it was fun. Most everyone was wearing white shirts and carrying the flag of Israel. They said there were young people everywhere as well as IDF soldiers. Everything went fine until at the end of the parade there was a Muslim riot. We didn’t hear about anything happening, I think they were just making an appearance, to protest this Jewish celebration of the recapture of Jerusalem from Muslim control.

#photostakenbyDiannaD

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After our LAST dinner together and saying long goodbyes, to Pastor Mark, his wife and all of our new friends….I headed up stairs to find my roommate packed but now sleeping. She was supposed to NOT sleep but just go downstairs with her luggage to hang out until the bus came to take them to the airport. I guess she was too tired. So, I called down and made a wake up call for her, which I had to stay up to answer since the phone was on my side of the bed anyway and I didn’t want to fall asleep and have her miss her bus. It worked out in the end, and she appreciated it. We said goodbye and I went to sleep! 4:30am would come early but I was ready.

More from this trip: Israel Day Fourteen. Headed HOME.

Israel Day Twelve. Jerusalem

This was that crazy morning I told you about earlier with NOT going to Beit Lechem [Bethlehem]. Instead a group of us walked to Roeh Israel Messianic Synagogue a few blocks away from the hotel. It was a hot walk but worth it. When we arrived a few others from our tour were there as well, and the place was PACKED. We ended up with standing room only in the back, but they had small folding chairs lined up along the wall for this purpose.

First of all the Rabbi was not there, he was in Sweden this week. So, they had a young man fill in for him with the sermon. It was AWESOME to be in Israel and experience a real synagogue Torah service, with liturgy… ALL IN HEBREW! I loved every minute. They had THREE Cantors who were in harmony!!!! It was beautiful. They had four other readers to total the proper 7, when it came time for the parashah [portion], haftarah and then the Messianic Writings [NT] passage was read by the young man going to be speaking today.

I knew MOST of the prayers and liturgy with the exception of some longer traditional passages. I loved that they had a gentlemen (one of the readers) stand-off to the side and say in English the page we should be on every once in a while, so no one got lost.

My heart rejoiced during the Sh’ma and the Amidah {though I don’t know the Amidah completely in Hebrew, I KNOW it in English and so I know the flow and many of the Hebrew words anyway.}

For the sermon the young man got up and a lady who would be translating into English for us. The funny part was that the speaker was fluent in English as well…so often he would supply the word for her if she couldn’t think of it or would also nicely correct her if she didn’t translate his meaning well.

During the sermon I completely felt a smile from the L-RD. The speaker tied the portion (in the book of Numbers) to the¬†haftarah and then to the Gospels, Luke chapter 2! They went to a town called…”Bethlehem…”ūüėČ ¬†So, I went to Beit Lechem today after all.

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Next, I SAW come to life before my eyes the admonition from Rav. Sha’ul¬†[Paul], on women being silent in “church.” There was a lady (who I now know who she is but won’t name names), who GOT UP during the sermon and scooted through this PACKED OUT room all the way across the room to where I was sitting and then made me tap on the shoulder of¬†the man behind me…who was ASLEEP and had missed this part of the sermon anyway….the speaker had mentioned how the enemy will try to get people to not be alligent¬†to their own nation and destruction will then come soon after… but when he woke up and I pointed to the lady, she then began to WHISPER LOUDLY in English, that “Isn’t this exactly what President Obama is doing to America….blah blah blah….” He didn’t even HEAR what was said and was SO annoyed at her and shooed her away. Everyone around us was so embraced for him and her! {I am pretty sure he was her brother.} And then she had to scoot through everyone to get back to her seat across the room and sit down next to her husband!

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Lastly, I am SO sad because I missed the opportunity to meet David H. Stern, the man who translated/or wrote The Complete Jewish Bible, The New Testament Commentary and The Complete Jewish Study Bible, Psalms and Proverbs (that I just studied with some ladies online), as well as a few other books!  He was in service with us, but was sitting across the room. And then some others from my group told me he had been here after he had left.

After the service, when I stood up I recognized a lady FROM TAIWAN that I met last year at Shalom Brooklyn in New York! We had been working in a park together with a girl from China. The three of us had walked a few blocks and had some GOOD Chinese food and GREAT conversation. I was so shocked to see someone I KNEW {the only possibility would have been my friend who lived in Tel Aviv, that we never got to connect while I was there, but we were sadly in the same place at the same time just minutes apart!} We all went down to the basement for Oneg [Delight (in the Shabbat)] which is the fellowship time and usually a meal or snacks. We ate some lunch and chatted with people. My friend from Taiwan was here for a couple of months studying at the Hebrew University! How cool. She ended up coming back with us to our hotel, to later hear the Rabbi. She went and hung out with some of the oriental ladies on my tour.

We walked back to the hotel and it was time to REST for a little while before¬†Rabbi Pesach Wolicki would be back to share some more teaching on the Psalms with us. I tried to Facetime my other Baby Boy and it worked! He was very excited to SEE me.ūüôā

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After the Rabbi taught we were free for the rest of the Shabbat. A new friend from the other bus on my tour and I went for a walk. We walked over behind our hotel to the FAMOUS King David Hotel. WHOA! We sat in the lobby like we belonged there for a while and talked. Then we walked about looking at all the neat features and architecture of the hotel. Our favorite was the LONG hallway with the signatures of some of the famous people who have stayed there.

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I only took pictures of a few like, Jackie Kennedy Onasis, Chagall, Prez. George W.Bush, Elizabeth Taylor…

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Jay Leno, Richard Gere….etc. Of course Billary Clinton(s) and Obama, as well as many foreign dignitaries, artists, musicians, authors, and politicians. Young and old, recent visits and many years ago ones, now dead and still alive people….there were TONS! And these are the only ones displayed, I am sure the registers are full! I have seen Mayim Bialik [Blossom, Big Bang] talk about her stay here and how fabulous it was.

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We walked around long enough that Havdalah came and went and the stores¬†all opened back up! The Shabbat doesn’t end until an hour after the sun sets, and so this night the stores opened up at about 10pm. My friend went into get some thing she needed and we walked back the block to our hotel and said, “Lilah Tov!” [Good night!]

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This was my last Shabbat in Israel! Tomorrow would be another LONG day of sightseeing…and it would be JERUSALEM DAY!

More from this trip: Israel Day Thirteen. Municipal, Shrine of the Book & Jerusalem Day

 

Israel Day Eleven. Emek Zurim, City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel & Jewish Quarter

As I went to get on the bus after breakfast this morning, there was a beautiful Jeep Wrangler in front of our hotel. I had to take a picture for my husband! And then later in traffic a cool three-wheeler scooter. He loved both.

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Today was going to be a really long for most people, but I chose to come back to the hotel earlier and miss the museum at the end of the day. Tonight was Shabbat and I wanted to relax and prepare for it.

Our first appointment was early in the morning. We headed over to the Emek Zurim-Sifting Project. We got to be archeologist for the day. We sifted through tons and tons of buckets of dirt, that was illegally removed from the “Temple Mount” by the Muslims to expand their Mosque in 1996. They dumped the history-filled dirt in a valley and this project was set up by the Jews to comb through it looking for artifacts. We broke up into teams of 4. We dumped a bucket of dirt, that had been filled with water already to soak. Then we sifted and sprayed the mud off with a hose.

We were given a muffin tin to put articles in specific categories that we found.  Bone, glass, pottery, tiles, wood, metal, special stones, and a misc things we thought might be something. When we were done, we had to have a staff person, come check our work before we dumped what was left, just incase we missed something.

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The most significant thing our team found was a piece of green Roman glass. They said it was most likely the handle of a perfume bottle. I said it looked like a shofar.ūüôā

Our ENTIRE team found all kinds of interesting things. From a marble, to bones, teeth and decorated tiles. But the BIGGEST find for the whole day were these two coins. The larger one is an Israeli 5 shekel coin from 1972 and smaller one is an ancient Ottoman Empire time coin. I saw how excited the archeologist got over it. Must be a big deal.

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We were told we could take a rock from the already sifted and discard pile. I asked for a specific one from OUR bucket, so I knew that I had sifted for it. This was pretty fun, I think everyone enjoyed it.

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Next our bus took us to The City of David.

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We walked through the gates to a beautiful olive tree covered patio with….

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grape vines with grapes on them!

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We waited for our time to go in and see the movie about the City of David. Then we went to see the ruins underneath the structure we had been standing on! We were basically looking at the ruins of palace basement. (Top left¬†image below is the palace wall…poeple houses were built against it. Bottom left ¬†image is what David’s view would have been like out over the city. Even standing there, in the basement I could see onto people roof tops. No wonder he could see BatSheva bathing.)

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This is a replica of a decorative piece from the palace found in the ruins.

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Next we climbed down the stairs to where a house had been built into the palace wall. This was a very wealthy person’s home. We know this for a few reasons, including the fact that it had four rooms, stairs, an indoor kitchen AND BATHROOM (left in image below)! Whoa!

This home was one of the ones King Nebechenezer of Babylon burnt down in 586 B.C., when he burnt all of Jerusalem, the Temple, the king’s palace, and people’s homes (2 Kings 25:9). When the house was found during the archeological excavation, it was covered in a think layer of ashes. There were also found Israelite and Babylonian arrowheads as well as burnt remanet of decorative wooden furniture imported from Syria. potsherds found tell us a wealthy man named Ahiel lived here. Near the house was also found a scroll archive house. In there were found burnt, petrified but preserved scrolls with bullae (seal) on them with names of prominent officials in the Bible!

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Next came decision time. It was time for the hike through Chiz’qiyyah’s¬†[Hezekiah] tunnels and people had to choose if they were going through the wet ones or the dry ones. I had planned and prepared for the WET ONES, baby! I came to experience EVERYTHING! ¬†I didn’t take my camera or iPhone out of my waterproof bag after seeing the Gihon Spring water system (the blue lit cave area). Some returned to the entrance to wait for us, some decided on the dry caves (including our tour guide!) and then the rest of us were gonna brave the THIGH-to possibly WAIST HIGH water. We were told it was a straight shot and he would be waiting for us on the other end. And we were to GO STRAIGHT to the bus! We had to go pick the others up in a timely fashion and be somewhere else on time.

The very first pool getting into the tunnel was the highest and it came up basically to the very top of my thigh. I was able to walk on tip-toes in my flip-flops to keep the water from the empty pockets of my capris. The water was fresh spring water, but cold. And we had to have flash lights with us as there were no lights. I had packed my headlamp flash light from out of my camera equipment. I thought that would be good to have my hands free and I was right. I had to lift my backpack higher a couple of times. Most of the time through the tunnels the water was only ankle to mid-calf high. Then sometimes knee-high and only one other time was it thigh-high again. As we got about half-way through I began to sing “How Great is Our God,” in Hebrew and English. It was cool because there was a sweet echo off those cave walls. (Top right image is of some of the spring water of the Pool of Siloam, after we exited the tunnel into the BRIGHT light! And bottom right is my wet pants and flip flops.)

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We exited out into the NEWLY discovered Pool of Siloam!!!! I was so excited to see it, as I have learned so much about it and when it was discovered, it helped clear up a lot of questions, Bible Scholars had. They have just started the excavations on it and will be at it for many years. THIS is where those 3,000 JEWS who came to faith in Yeshua of Nazareth as their Messiah on Shavu’ot [Pentecost] 10 days after he ascended to heaven, were mikvah’d¬†{100s could go in at a time}!

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We all loaded up onto our PURPLE “white” bus and were ready to leave….when someone yelled we were missing someone! As we were coming out of the tunnels, there was a gift shop with ancient coins and such. I thought to myself, someone is going to disobey and go in there. And boy, was I right! And of course it was Mr. Knife man from earlier! OY VEY! He was brought to the bus and we were off. Snatched up the others quickly and headed to our next destination.

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We drove up Jericho [Yericho] Road! This is the road into the Jerusalem¬†from Jericho that Yeshua and his disciples as well as many others have walked. It’s a 15 mile long road (to Jericho) and takes about 8 hours to walk on a good day that is not too hot.

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Our next stop was the Jewish Quarter. I was sad we had to FLY through here, as we had an appointment. I would have loved to go slow and take lots of pictures!

First we went through the “Tzion” Gate (top right image), touching the Mezzuzah and kissing our figures (which is traditional) but I say and remember, “Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Ps. 119:11) Next ,we made the famous and beautiful walk through the corridors of the Jewish Quarter! I thought it and then someone behind me said, “I feel like we are in…” and I finished her sentence with, “a Johsua Aaron video?” YES!!!!

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I don’t do hearts, but this caught my eye, so I took it for a friend.ūüôā

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We made it to the Roman Cardo. This is a long road of Roman style shopping stalls. Cardo meaning HEART of the city. Each stall would be filled with goods and wears to buy! This outside area is left in ruins to show people how it was found….but they have reconstructed the other half into stores, with doors that lock. The bottom left image is of our tour guide being silly. There used to be a mosaic of the city of Jerusalem here, but it was removed for repair. He pretended it was there and we just weren’t SEEING it.ūüôā

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While he was being silly, I was looking at the light and seeing this gorgeous photo in the arch above his head. LOL!

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Then we moved into the covered part of the Cardo. They left this part intact since the tile floor was still there. At the very end, on the wall an artist had created a mural of what the Cardo might have looked like in its prime. In the very front he added a modern touch which I thought was so cool!

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At the top of the mural he had painted the Israeli National bird, the Hopoe [hop-O]. And sadly it was the only one I had saw the whole trip.

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Next we went and sat down in a little alcove near an olive tree. The light was shining really bright above us and it was no place special. There was a map of the Jewish Quarter on the wall above us and our guide was using it to explain the area to us. As we all got up and walked away, I stood up and waited to take a picture of the map. I was the last one to leave the area. As I walked through the archway, I heard a bird’s wings flap, so I turned around to look and saw this sight. I grabbed my iPhone and snapped a picture, but I couldn’t get the lighting right, so I QUICKLY got out my camera adjusted it and snapped!

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I knew when I saw it with my eyes, it was going to be my favorite picture!¬†I turned back around and this is the inside of the modern Cadro…my group was GONE! I RAN to catch up to them. They had just turned the corner and stopped to use the restrooms. Whew!

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We headed “further up and further in”…our guide took us to an area where you can see the bottom of what was the wall of the city in the Second Temple Period. Which is now of course expanded WAY OUT!!!!! The bottom-middle rocky looking image is the base of the wall. The image just to¬†the right has arrows showing the wall. The bottom arrow is where the street level was and the top arrow is where the wall was 8 ft. taller. ¬†We are standing on the modern-day street looking DOWN at this! The bottom far right image is the Hurva Synagogue. It was burnt down and recently rebuilt.

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Our appointment we were going to was to tour the Burnt House aka Katros House. This house was an EXTRAVAGANT home of a Temple Priest & his family. It was burned down one month after the Second Temple was destroyed in the 70 AD Jewish Revolt by the Romans. Just the  32ft. foundation was left, but it gives many clues to the lavish 4 room home, that had a courtyard. This house is now 32 ft. below street level. And it also had its own Mikvah (ritual bath).

There was also lots of artifacts found like heavy stone earthenware, pottery, jars, dishes, jewelry, combs, game pieces, etc. Charred wood and lots of soot as well. There was also clear evidence of a workshop (the smallest of the 4 rooms) where this Levitical family made perfumes for the Temple.

Also a plaque was¬†found that had the family name on it, Bar Katros. This family was named in the Talmud as a priestly family who abused their position in the Temple. Possibly spreading false rumors and misinformation with “a ¬†pen.”

In the video we watched the way the house sits and where it sits, they had a beautiful view of the Tempe Mount and the city itself.

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After this we were free to go off and eat lunch and shop on our own. Most stayed in groups. I ate a yummy egg salad bagel, around people from my group, but then I went off shopping, my roommate hung with me for a while and then we separated. Meeting back up with everyone in the square. I found the DIRT from Israel someone begged my to bring back, as well as the ring that matches my Sh’ma necklace.

I got to meet the famous Rabbi Moshe Kempinski everyone talks about. He was a sweet and gentle man who loves the L-RD and is a LIGHT in the Jewish Quarter! He and his brother Dov own the shop right off the square called Shorashim [Roots] Biblical Shop. ¬†He has all kinds of hand-made unique jewelry, t-shirts, books and more. I bought my daughter a necklace from him and his latest book, which I can’t wait to read.

I met up with the group and we headed back the way we came and out the Tzion Gate, to our bus.

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As the bus was leaving our tour guide pointed out the real Oskar Schindler’s grave, of the movie “Schindler’s List.” They allowed him to be buried in Jerusalem!

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So, here is where some people continued on the tour with another museum and I and some others were dropped off at the hotel. I got a NAP, in my hammock on the roof! Showered and dressed up for Shabbat. This Shabbat we had special guests. Orthodox Rabbi Pesach Wolicki brought his whole family and they had Erev Shabbat dinner with us. Our dinner was elaborate and set up in a banquet room. The hotel sets out Shabbat candles for ladies to light if they want in the lobby. They Rabbi’s wife, daughters and me all went up to do it. Then when I turned around there was no one behind me. They all looked like deer in headlights. So….I called up two ladies at a time. They each lit two candles and then I ¬†had them cover their eyes and I said the blessing for them in Hebrew then English. I repeated this about 4 or 5 times, for whoever wanted to participate.ūüôā

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The family demonstrated to the entire room full of people the prayers and blessings, but all in Hebrew. So I had to quietly explain what was going on, to my table. Especially when they left the room to wash their hands with the ceremonial cup. After the wonderful dinner, we all went down stairs and first had the Vow Renewal ceremony and then Rabbi Wolicki taught us how to dissect and properly read the Psalms.

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When I got back to my room I decided to TRY and Facetime my Grandboys. Only K-man was able to answer, but boy was that a welcome sight! And he was SO excited to SEE me!

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I was so READY for Shabbat, and getting to sleep in until 9am and even more ready to head home soon! Only a few more days to squeeze in a bit more of Jerusalem.

More from this trip: Israel Day Twelve. Jerusalem

 

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