Thursday, February 17, 2011

Israel Trip, part 1

I returned from Israel Tuesday morning. My emotions ran the spectrum from elation to sorrow. I loved Israel: the sights, historical wonders, the food, the aura of holiness that seemed to permeate everyday comings and goings. I took over 200 photos, some of which I'll show you in these posts.

Day 1 my nephew David and I arrived in Tel Aviv at dawn. As we drove towards Jerusalem in the rain, I looked back at Tel Aviv and saw a double rainbow connecting clouds to earth. As DH put it, what an awesome (in the literal sense of the word) sign. After a brief rest (neither of us slept during the 10 hour flight), we headed out to the Old City to the Kotel (Western Wall, holiest of all places to Jews). In pouring rain (soaked through my raincoat). With thunder. With hail (sounds like a few plagues, no?). To be greeted by this site at the Kotel:
7 A rainbow arcs over the Kotel
We prayed the afternoon service (Minchah) and took more photos:
13 women's side Kotel
This is the women's side of the Kotel. I cannot describe how I felt when I stood next to the wall, touched it, prayed at it, cried to it. The stones are always warm, maybe they feel the intense emotion they evoke.

We explored a bit more. I looked for ancient ruins like these Roman columns from the old market place:
4 Roman columns
When we returned to my brother's apartment, my brother (DB) and father arrived from their LA to Tel Aviv flight. Dinner was next, at Herzl House, the place where Theodor Herzl stayed the single time he visited Israel.

The next day we went to the Mea Shearim to shop (I had quite a list from family). On the way I spotted this, the Artists House:
34 The Artists House
I completed most of my shopping in one place, then we went back to the apartment because of the cold rain (my father is 87 after all).
36 Mea Shearim scene
Here's my father in his jaunty cap on Mea Shearim Street.

Wednesday was a landmark occasion for me. DB hired a private tour guide for me. We started at Mt Zion, site of the tomb of King David.
43 Two Davids and me
That's David with me by the statue of King David outside the tomb site. From there we went through the Zion Gate into the Old City:
46 Above Zion Gate
See the funnel above the gate? That's for pouring the boiling oil when invaders come.
51 Hurva Synagogue
This is the Hurva synagogue, it was the main Ashkenazi synagogue in Jerusalem before it was destroyed in 1948. It was rebuilt less than a year ago. Hurva means destroyed in Hebrew, I forgot the original name of it. I came back here for Sabbath morning services. It is magnificent inside.
50 A doorway in HaRova
Don't know what this is, but I found it somewhere in the Jewish Quarter.
56 from the Hasmonean era
These are ruins from the time of the Hasmoneans next to the underground shopping gallery in the Cardo. In a Roman city, the Cardo was the heart of a city and the main north-south street. In Jerusalem, the Cardo is the underground Roman shopping gallery. Where there are no shops, it looks like this:
53 Columns in the Cardo
The floors look like this:
54 Roman era floor in Cardo
Imagine walking on hills paved with these in clogs. Yep, I wore clogs to Israel. No traction whatsoever. My thighs got a good workout. We climbed back up Mt Zion to get our car and head out for new adventures. I'll save those for the next post.


fleegle said...

Beautiful photos!! Glad you had a good time!

sapphireblue said...

Gorgeous photos! So much history.

Henya said...

Lovely photos. We have not made it to Jerusalem yet, but hope to do it soon.

Knitrageous said...

So glad you got to make the trip! Your pictures are fantastic. Thank you for sharing!