Thursday, September 27, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Yom Kippur at the Western Wall!!
When I was done, I turned around and the whole wall area was filled with women! Young, old, most holding prayer books, standing and praying facing the wall. The men's side (on the left) was full, too. I could hear alot of chanting, singing, praying, crying. Most of the Jewish people wear white on Yom Kippur. You are NOT supposed to take pictures in the Jewish Quarter on Shabbat or holy days, so I took these from a distance, even still, a woman growled at me after I snapped this picture. I just had to share it with you...you can see the Dome of the Rock in the upper right corner.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Christian Communities Field Study, Continued!!
In the same place, a room painted by Crusaders depicting many saints. The one on the end is Mary, with Jesus in the center. The whole room is surrounded with these paintings of various saints.
Here's the chapel inside the Crusader-built church at the Elizabeth site. We had prayer and sang a song in Latin here with the sister.
Here's the entrance to the monastery.
We attended the 6pm service in the Crusader Sanctuary with the nuns and monks. Afterward we met this lady, whom our professor described as a 'hermit'. Here, the word 'hermit' doesn't mean someone who escapes society to go live in a shack in a forest with a dog and a shotgun. It means someone who has taken vows and is devoted to prayer, solitude and silence. Again, not absolutes, because she came to the church service and spoke with us.
This is a woman who was a university professor, she supports herself by doing translations. She spends most of her time alone and many hours a day in prayer, says she is called to this, and its not so hard if God calls you to do this. When asked what is the best part of what you do, she said simply "God." When asked what is the hardest part, she immediately said "Eating alone".
I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the Christian communities and monasteries in Israel...it was a simply fascinating day for me!!
I'll be going up to the Sea of Galilee next weekend, so will send you lots of pics from there. Blessings to you all!!
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Christian Communities Field Study
The Christians in Israel represent just 2% of the population of Israel (which is about 80% Jewish, about 18% Arab/Palestinian). Although they are a small minority, they are an important presence in the land, and do much preserve the ancient sites of Bibical events.
Most of these sites we will visit today have ancient histories of really old churches, that were destroyed and rebuilt many times. The Byzantines rebuilt many churches, later destroyed by Muslims, later rebuilt by Crusaders, later destroyed by Muslims, etc etc. But through all this building and destroying, the original sites of churches have been pretty much preserved, and most still have small pieces of architecture or mosaics, etc that were from at least the Crusader era.
Leaving the spring, walking up a looooonngg staircase that leads to the "Church of the Visitation". I have told you in the past that there is no level ground here in Israel. You are either walking up or down wherever you go:)
When you go to these 'holy' sites, you must dress modestly, no knees or shoulders visible, no loud noise, often they want you to be silent inside the church, etc.
Walking back down the stairs, this is the view of En Kerem, very pretty countryside in the Judean Hills.
Walking along the street in En Kerem, all this walking makes me hungry for some ice cream....
Here's the outside of the Russian Orthodox Church. We had to climb a very loooonngg staircase to get up here. We are still in En Kerem, and this is another church that commemorates the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth. This mosaic depicts the 2 women. Did you ever wonder what that 'halo' is that you see around people's heads in these religious icons? It is supposed to represent the 'uncreated light of God' that dwells in the person.
Here's a view from next to the Russian Orthodox church. We are not too far from Jerusalem, it's just over the middle hill on you see on the right. Although if you were on foot or on a donkey, it's quite a long journey, I'm sure. Well, we have spent our morning in En Kerem. We will be leaving now for another site where we will have lunch and begin our afternoon...Will put all that in my next blog. So stayed tuned...
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Peaceful (yes, Peaceful!) Morning Walk in the New City of Jerusalem
Here I am in the courtyard by Jaffa Gate, the opening you see leads into the Old City, but walking across the courtyard in the other direction you see this:
Looking down over the courtyard at the highway that goes underneath it.
And just the other side of the courtyard in front of Jaffa Gate are these stairs leading down into the Mamilla Mall which is just a couple years old.
This is an outdoor mall, ordinarily very busy, but it's only about 9 a.m., there's only a couple restaurants open so far.
The streets of the mall, perfectly clean and peaceful.
Dozens and dozens of stores, a lot of American name brands there as well.
Well, I've never seen anyone play a guitar quite like this, but maybe that's how they do it in Israel...
OK, so I did see one soldier standing outside the Pharmacy. But that's not unusual. He's the only one I saw in the entire huge mall area. I actually like seeing the soldiers around, makes you feel more secure.
I have my shekels and am leaving the mall now, here's the familiar skyline of the Old City walls and the Tower of David as I come up the steps out of the mall.
Looking the other direction to the buildings on the slopes across the Hinnom Valley.
Walking past Jaffa Gate again. Looks peaceful in there, too.
Walking back home, the large building in the center is the King David hotel, the most luxurious and well-known hotel in Israel, where many diplomats stay.
Still walking, looking across the valley I see the Yemin Moshe neighborhood with the WINDMILL, do you see it? One can easily identify Yemin-Moshe neighborhood, buillt in the late 1800's, by the large windmill at the top of the hill overlooking the Hinnom Valley on King David Street. The windmill, was originally built to serve the milling needs of the residents of Montefiore's new developments (built to encourage Jews to move out of the exceedingly crowded Old City), but it was never operational because of the lack of wind where it was situated. Hmm, that was poor planning:) There's lots of wind on our campus! Today there is a restaurant at the base of the windmill.
One more pic...This is very near our gate, looking down over the valley you see this huge outdoor theater, many hundreds of seats. They frequently have concerts there, usually late at night, and they have the loudest PA system ever. I often go to sleep with the sound of the base booming from there. This was not here last semester. (I have often thought I'd love to go over there, turn on the PA system and worship the Lord with it on full blast:) OK, now I'm back home, a perfectly peaceful and beautiful walk in the city of Jerusalem!!
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