Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Return to the Temple Mount!

Here's a video I took the other day with a long-distance view of the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount.   I know I showed you lots of pics of this last semester, but come with me again:

This is the courtyard in front of the Western Wall, a group of IDF soldiers gathering there. We often see large groups of soldiers in training, all healthy young men and women in Israel are required to serve in the army.

 This is a close-up of the Western Wall on the women's can see the many slips of paper stuck in the cracks that have the written prayers and petitions on them.
 A little boy on his bike riding in the Hurva Square, in front of the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter
 The five people in the foreground are all students I was waiting in line with to go up to the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock is. The Muslims only open this during certain restricted hours, and you are not allowed up there during their 5 times a day prayer times. You have to go through security first, then you cross the long wooden bridge that you saw in the video above to get up there.

 Now we're up on the Temple Mount, it is not crowded today.You can see the Dome of the Rock, the centerpiece of the Temple Mount, and the most recognized building and icon in Jerusalem.
 The Dome of the Rock is NOT a mosque (it's a shrine), but this is - The Al-Aqsa Mosque for public prayers is the first huge structure you come to when you get up on the Temple Mount. Only Muslims are allowed inside the Mosque or in the Dome of the Rock.
 This building is massive and aesthetically beautiful. Wouldn't be the same without that gold dome, however.
 This is the actual entrance to the Dome of the Rock. A couple of the guys we were with did approach the door to see if they could get in, but no way, they were turned away!
 Here's the side of the Dome, a few Muslim people sitting around outside it.
 Some children playing soccer on the Temple Mount. There are actually a couple schools up there.
 Here's the view of the Temple Mount side of the Eastern Gate (some people call it the Golden Gate). This is the gate that we believe the Lord Jesus will come through when He returns and comes down from the Mount of Olives, which it faces.
 The Olives are growing on the Temple Mount! There are so many Olive trees up there. They are not quite ripe yet, but maybe by next month they will be.
 Here we are, I'm the one in shades on the left:)  You can see several Olive trees in this shot.
 Now this is an interesting little Gazebo which sits just to the North east of the Dome of the Rock, and is right in line with the Eastern Gate. This Gazebo sits over a patch of exposed rock, it is the actual rock of Mount Moriah, visible amidst the paved stones of the Temple Mount that Herod built over the mountain.
 This exposed part of the mountain is very special and important. I have a dear friend (hi Edith!) who had a supernatural encounter with the Lord while at this very spot, and believes the Lord revealed to her that THIS was the very site of the Holy of Holies in the 2nd Temple, and this was the very place and rock where Isaac was bound, and the very place where Jesus' throne will be in the Millenial kingdom,etc (much more to her vision). The Muslims believe it was the rock that is beneath the Dome where Ishmael (not Isaac) was bound by Abraham....Well, one day we will see and know for sure, and every knee will bow....
 My new friend Matt standing on the rock of  Mount Moriah, beneath the gazebo.
 Is this the right place, Edith???
This picture is a little out of order, but shows some women facing the Western Wall, which is the only structure original to the 2nd Temple that is standing, a place sacred to many, and where hundreds of thousands of Jews and Christians come to pray each year.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday in the Old City of Jerusalem

 So it's my first Sunday back in Jerusalem. A bunch of students decided to go to church at Christ Church, this oldest protestant church in the Old City (1849),which is near the Jaffa Gate, so I went with them.  It's an Anglican church, that is fairly contemporary in their service. This is the inside of Christ Church.
 This stained glass window in the church was worth the trip. Here we have an olive tree with a few branches broken off. It reminded of the scripture in Romans 11:17 "...some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and how share in the nourishing sap from the olive root..."   Thank you, Lord that I have been grafted in.

There's a Hebrew inscription on the bottom. which is from Romans 11:29-31 "...for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you."  "They, too" refers to the Jews. This olive tree represents Jews (and appears like a menorah) and Christians (also appears as a cross) in the same tree. This is an amazing piece of stained glass artwork, and one that reminds me of God's incredible mercy.
 A sign just outside of Christ Church. From Psalms 122 in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
Here I am sitting in the midst of a group of students inside a shop in the Christian Quarter of the Old City. Yup, they're mostly in their 20's, and I'm being mother hen:) We walked here after church, and I introduced them all to the shopkeeper. Many of the stores in the Christian Quarter are closed on Sunday, but this one is open for business.
 I know this is a really strange picture, but I was walking along the street in the Christian Quarter, and saw this gold substance that appeared to be spilled on the ground, like gold paint or something. Of course it reminded me of the streets of gold that one day I will walk on in the New Jerusalem:) Ok, maybe you think that's a stretch, but that's honestly what I thought of when I saw this!!  (When you are in Jerusalem, you tend to see things and think things differently)
 It's very unusual to see empty streets in Jerusalem, which usually are teeming with people, tourists, and activity. But it is Sunday, and much of the Christian Quarter is quiet. Just as on Shabbat (Fri pm-Sat) all the shops close down in the Jewish Quarter.
 A scene near the Jaffa Gate, one of the largest and main gates into the city. A street vendor selling fresh bread.
 Also at the Jaffa Gate area, a couple orthodox Jews in the foreground.
 Now I'm walking in the Jewish Quarter along one of the streets, going to the Western Wall.
 I love this view. You can, of course, see the Dome of the Rock. This wooden bridge is what you cross to go up to the Temple Mount, which is only open at certain times.  Just below the bridge and to the left of it is the Western Wall, where Jews and Pilgrims come from all over the world to pray, their most holy site.
 Standing in the same place where I snapped the pic above of the Dome of the Rock, next to me was this ultra-orthodox Jewish man. He was holding a bowl and begging for alms as people pass by. Many of them do this, as they spend their lives studying Torah, and not earning a living.
 Also in the Jewish Quarter is the Cardo, the ancient main street and market area. These are columns from the main street of Jerusalem in the early first century. They are way down below what is current street level, because as time goes on and civilizations and debri come and go, the streets get much higher.
 Here's a mural depicting what the Cardo may have looked like with all the market places, people and activity.
 Three little Jewish children playing in the Jewish Quarter.
 Some IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers stopping at one of the little shops to buy some refreshments.
 A pic I snapped of the Church of the Dormition on Mount Zion as the evening setting sun was beginning to shine on it.
 Leaving the Jaffa Gate, I turned around to snap this pic.
 Walking down the hill from the Jaffa Gate, to head back to school
 Passing by the outside of the walls of the Old City.
 Here's the walls...if you look close you can see the moon just above it.
 Walking down the street, at the end of this road is JUC, my school. This way has become VERY familiar to me, like walking home.
And here's my gate. We all have a key to get in, and have to sign in and out as we come and go so they know approx. where we are at all times.  Tomorrow (Monday) school begins, and I AM READY!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm back to school! Wanna see my dorm room?

I woke up in Jerusalem today.  That's seems so simple to say, yet so profound...that I have this incredible opportunity to live here so many months this year. I still do literally have to pinch myself when I realize where I am:)  Today I unpacked, settled in, and now want to show you my home-away-from-home dorm room.  Tomorrow afternoon I am already scheduled to lead worship down at Succat Hallel, the 24/7 House of Prayer across the Hinnom Valley. So here's the dorm room, and thanks for reading my blog, I plan to post lots of pics/videos/news as I experience them:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Today I'm doing my final packing to leave tomorrow for Jerusalem!  I will arrive Thursday evening.  School starts on Monday, so I will have the weekend to get acclimated to the time and get settled into my room and surroundings.  For those who may be interested, here's the courses I am planning to take this semester:

Middle Eastern Cultures & Religions
MECR 5/342 History of the Holy Land from the Rise of Islam to 1948 3 units- J. Kaplan
MECR 5/349 Christian Communities in the Middle East* 3 units -P. Heldt
MECR 5/360 Introduction to the Modern Middle East* 3 units -O. Yinon
MECR 5/365 Palestinian Society and Politics* 3 units -B. Sabella

SO STAY TUNED FOR PICS, VIDEOS, UPDATES, ETC, from Israel, I am on my way back!!

Love to you all,