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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Local Paper News Article

Posted by Colleen


We are heading back to the Treasury of Petra which is located just inside the siq, a narrow passage at the entrance. (The horn of the saddle was rubbing Eric’s back which is the reason for the groans you will hear on the video.)

Below is an article that I wrote for my hometown, Collinsville, OK.

Four months in Israel. It sounded like someone else's life, certainly not ours. We had dreamed of visiting for years but never thought it would happen. We certainly wouldn’t have believed that we would live there for 4 months. After all, Moses wasn't allowed to enter the land, what made us think we would?
This past spring, my family moved to Jerusalem. I can imagine the questions flooding your mind. No doubt one of them is, "Were you safe?" We can easily say that we were safer living in Jerusalem than we ever were getting onto I-35 in Austin where we lived the past 10 years.
Actually, Jerusalem was not only a safe place to live, but it was as amazing as it sounds. We found our apartment on Craigslist so when they said that it was across the street from the President's home, it was a little unbelievable. However, it was literally across the street from President Shimon Peres' home. We were greeted both coming and going by his well-armed security guards. We were also privy to many fly-overs, helicopter security, band performances and special galas happening on the grounds. What made our location even more amazing is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lived just around the corner, about a 5 minute walk.

Our apartment was located about a 10 minute walk from Old City. Our purpose for living there was for my husband Eric, who is working on his Masters in Theology, to attend Jerusalem University College, which is located just outside of the Zion Gate to Old City.

It’s pretty cool living in the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. Modern Jerusalem is really new and quite, well… modern, almost all of it was built since Israel’s inception in 1948, but in the center is Old City Jerusalem, established in the year 4000… yeah, that’s BC. Parts of it are still around from the time Jesus walked the streets. The Old City is about one square kilometer, and surrounded by massive stone walls. My kids played on sections of those walls that existed before the United States, before the pilgrims, or Columbus sailed the ocean blue, before England or Spain even existed. To stand just feet from those towering old walls takes your breath away.

People ask, "What is the most incredible thing you did in Israel?" that’s like asking a mother to name her favorite child. Heck, it's hard to limit it to our top 10, especially since there were 5 of us, each with a different list. Camel and horse rides top the list for 4 year old, Lillian. For Celine (10) and Tally (12) it’s visiting Petra, in Jordan. Eric says he most enjoyed learning the history and watching a bar mitzvah take place on the top of Masada, but I think he secretly better enjoyed scaring me to death by standing on the precipice overlooking Mitspah Ramon, Israel's Grand Canyon. As for me, walking the streets, sitting in the cafes, shopping at the markets while attempting to speak Hebrew with anyone who would endure it was by far, hands-down, my all time favorite, would-do-it-again-if-given-the-chance best part of my four month journey in Israel. I loved the people, Jew and Arab alike. I love them even more for putting up with my mutilation of their language.

Lillian riding the horse named Susannah. After the camels, we walked through the siq then put Lillian on the horse to leave Petra, about a 1/4 mile. The people walking the opposite direction were just getting to Petra.

Living anywhere for four months is quite different than visiting for a week. Once we came out of the initial shock, learned how to navigate the town and the markets we eventually felt like one of the people (except we spoke very poor Hebrew). You might say it was like normalcy interspersed with frequent, if sometimes random, moments of inspired greatness. On a couple of occasions we got to watch others experience those great moments too. While there, some friends come to Israel for a 10-day tour. We knew that their group would be arriving at the Western Wall in Old City around 4:00pm (it’s that wall you’ve undoubtedly seen pictures of, with the hundreds of Jewish worshippers standing there praying). We remembered our first visit to the Western Wall Plaza and the site being almost unbearable because of its greatness, its spiritual importance and the sheer enormity of the actual wall. You have to just stand still for a while to take it all in, what it all means and what makes it so great. We desired for our friends to have that same experience, that same pinch me so I know I’m awake feeling, so we stood in the background and just experienced the Wall all over again until they arrived. They were not disappointed.

Walking everywhere, we became so familiar with the city and how it changes as you go from one part to the next. Old City alone, depending on what gate you enter, can be a most exciting cultural experience. As you enter the Zion Gate on the south end of Old City, the neatness and order of the Armenian Quarter is striking. As you continue down Habad Street you are straddling the division between the Jewish and the Armenian Quarter dodging Jewish men and their sons hurrying to get to the Western Wall for prayers. Before you know it, you pass under an arch and find yourself between the Christian and Muslim Quarters and faced with more options of Judaica (souvenirs) than you thought possible till finally you arrive at the Damascus Gate which resembles a scene from an Indiana Jones movie -- Muslim merchants yelling all around you, enticing you with the “best price“on spices, grape leaves or camel leather shoes.
I relished observing Jews doing business with Muslims -- something you wouldn't expect if you relied on the media. I found my camera rising to snap a picture of this exchange whenever possible because I found it refreshing and quite a contrast to what we see at home on the news. The situation in Israel is complicated and built on centuries of history but few here in the States are telling the whole story. Being there for 4 months, living among them and reading their papers, I got to know them a little better but there is much to learn.

Market inside Damascus Gate (Jews and Arabs)

This is one of my favorite pictures. The guy in the middle holding the lettuce—he is yelling out prices, the ladies sitting on the ground are selling their crops, probably grape leaves, the Hasidic Jewish men on the left just made a purchase, and in the foreground are Tally and Celine observing it all. This is the suk just inside Damascus gate of the Muslim Quarter where you can buy produce, shoes, clothes, house wares, etc.

Something that impacted us all equally was the terrain of Israel, Jerusalem especially. In the Bible, Jesus walks from Jericho to Jerusalem not long before he would enter Jerusalem and be heralded as King of Kings. However, between these two cities is a vast wilderness of ridges cut through with deep wadis (small rivers that run with water only during the rainy season). When you see that rugged, difficult country, you know you would not want to lose your way -- at night for fear of the fierce wild animals and during the day for the parching, hot, unforgiving sun. Standing there, it was clear to see the way Jesus came because to venture off the ridge route that is still in use today would have been a grave mistake. It was historical, geographical, but certainly spiritual standing there as well. Overlooking this route, we once contemplated Psalm 139, "If I were to fly away on the wings of the dawn, and settle down on the other side of the sea, even there your hand would guide me." Eagles often rise out of the bottom of these wadis and fly out and above the ridges in this area early in the dawn.
One day we stood at the top of Mt. Olive before heading down into the Kidron Valley and back up again to the Lion Gate of Old City. This is the same walk Jesus took the Sunday before he was crucified. Mt. Olive rises 2,676 feet. From the top, Jesus would have had a view of the Temple, where the Dome of the Rock now stands. The view can't be described, only experienced, there hasn’t yet been a piece of equipment invented that can capture that kind of scene. Eric said to me one day, “I ought to just throw away my camera because what I see in the viewfinder is not what we are looking at.”

We were heading to the bagel shop in the Jewish Quarter when this group of Jewish boys singing and dancing came up. They were young enough to think it was cool to have their picture taken. Also, notice Tally and Celine at the end of this clip.

If you are interested in reading more about our travels, what we saw, what we learned, please go to to read our blog. We continue to post about Israel so it is still current. Also, if you are ever presented the opportunity to travel to or live in Jerusalem, don't hesitate--certainly don't wait for "things to get better."

IMG_2074Eric and I enjoying the peaceful waters of En Gedi, a place that David hid from Saul. The girls are in front of us playing in the springs.

“Pray for peace in Jerusalem,” a saying you see all over the city. If I have brought anything back with me, it is the desire for people to pray for Israel.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Our Own Exodus

Posted by Colleen

For everything  there is an appointed time,
Rooftop of Holy Sepulchreand an appropriate time  for every activity  on earth:
3:2 A time to be born,  and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted;
3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
3:6 A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost; 
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
3:7 A time to rip, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent, and a time to speak.
3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecc. 3

Rooftop of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre


Eric, Tally, Celine with soldiers

Our time to return to the US arrived after an amazing four months in Israel.

We have now been in the US since May 21st. By now, I had anticipated having this post and another post written about our last week in Jerusalem in which Eric drove us through the entire country of Israel. We have had a very unusual return to America. If you remember, our trip to Israel was a detour to our move from Buda to Dallas. Well, part of that detour has meant that on our return we would stay in 12 different homes with 15 moves in just over a month. Currently we are house sitting for a sweet lady who is spending the summer in Mexico.

We have found a home in Dallas and will close on August 11th! Yea! We all long to be settled but again have to give God so much glory for His protection and provisions during this transitional time. We still have our home in Buda where an adorable young couple is renting it.

On our return, we spent a week traveling from Philadelphia to Buda where Eric, Tally and Celine spent every day the next week preparing for their black belt test. They tested and did an amazing  job. Our dear friend Abbey gave up her spare time to work with them—what a sweet friend she is. It was so impressive to me how they fought jet-lag and just plain exhaustion. These are wonderful qualities that I hope encourage us in other endeavors we tackle.

The picture above is with a group of Israeli soldiers who asked to have their picture taken with us. That was a first (normally we asked for the photo op) and we were so honored.  Below are pictures of Eric, Tally and Celine practicing karate in Jerusalem for their upcoming test on our return.

tally celine and eric
Tallyround house Tally front kick
celine celine flying side kick



Notice the Black Belts! Master Pratt is on the far left and our friend Abbey, who worked endlessly with us on our return from Israel, is 2nd from right.


All that said and rewinding a couple of weeks, here is the blog written on our return to the States more than a month ago. Enjoy!

IMG_2136Coming to America!

Though lacking the significance of the Israeli Exodus, our exodus from Israel did finally and sadly arrive. We left May 20th at 11:55pm from Tel Aviv. The flight to Toronto was 12 hours long and thankfully, uneventful. When we arrived in Toronto, we had to pick up our luggage and go through US customs. After winding through the many lines and rechecking our 10 (of 19 total) bags, we grabbed something to eat. Our internal clocks said it was noon but it was only 5am Canadian time so the airport was still very quiet and most restaurants were still “sleeping.” We enjoyed some yummy bagels then made our way to our gate for the flight that would take us to Newark after only 7 more grueling hours. Ugh! With neck pillows in hand everyone found a spot to lie down and get a nap. Lillian and I stayed on patrol while the others slept. It was good to see them get some rest. You know you are tired when a hard concrete floor covered in outdoor carpet in a noisy airport terminal looks inviting.


The car was just big enough to fit us and our 19 bags. The girls actually sat criss-cross because they had suitcases in the floor in front of them.

Arriving in Newark was a wonderful feeling—no more airplanes, customs lines or metal detectors. We knew we were home when we spotted the Getchells, our dear friends from Pennsylvania. That evening, we all went ice skating—something everyone should do after flying/waiting/flying for 24 hours. When we got to the Getchells afterward, it was straight to bed. Sleep came easy for everyone but morning came a little too early for me. I was up at 5am. The house was quiet, the sun was still peeking over the trees and the coffee was hot. I sat down and began my next blog. It was spectacular! The best ever. You’ll have to take my word on that because about 5 hours into it, the computer shut down and I lost the whole thing (remember Jesus saves, even when Colleen forgets to).

Philadelphia Crew
Brianna, Jared, Celine, Ally, Tally, Lillian, Colleen, Eric, Jim, Lillian, Tres, Sam, Amy

After a couple of nights in PA, we took off to spend the next night with my sister Kathleen. We had a great time with her and her daughters, Copeland and Kaitlyn. Kathleen made a wonderful breakfast of muffins, pancakes and bacon which we enjoyed with the girls before they headed off to school.

The cousin slumber party with Lillian, Tally, Celine, Copeland and Kaitlyn.


Before leaving, Kathleen took us to Assateaque Island to see the wild horses that run free. We spotted 9 very beautiful red horses with blonde manes. The beach was hazy with large waves crashing onto shore. It was a wonderful reminder of God’s mighty hand holding everything in balance which took me back to Israel as I reminisced about our amazing journey we have so recently returned from.

As a side:

Eric and I want you to know that just because we are back in the US, our blogs are far from over. Eric has several he has started regarding the field studies he took with JUC as well as a blog about the amazing week of events before our departure.


Before leaving Israel, we had some questions sent to us by my mom. 

 1. Did you ever really see the piano man? Did anybody else hear him playing the piano?

The Piano Man was first spotted the first week of our arrival to the Hanasi apartment. I was in the backyard hanging laundry in my PJs when he arrived home. If you saw the videos from an earlier blog, you will remember that the clothes line is right below his balcony. The only other sighting was by Tally several weeks later. Calvin didn’t see him, but did hear him during his visit.

We frequently saw people walking around with instruments such as guitar, lute, violin, etc. Music seemed to be a big part of their culture which was evident in the many celebrations they had that included dancing and singing. We saw them dancing in Zion Square, Western Wall, and even in traffic as they were soliciting something. My favorite dancing and singing was by the soldiers that came through Old City during their tour of Israel.

2. Did you ever get a chance to share your beautiful voice with a church, Eric's classmates, the piano man, etc? Via Dolorosa?

I did a lot of singing but none in public.

The Via Dolorosa was an amazing walk but unlike what you might imagine. It was narrow, crowded and lined with suks—not the kind of place you would break out in song. For those of you that don’t know, I have sung a song called Via Dolorosa for many years. It is a favorite of my mom’s.

3. What was your experience attending a church service there?

We attended several congregations but none more than once. The girls were the first to attend a service with a babysitter. It was an international congregation and seemed to be similar to any Baptist service in the US.

The girls and I attended a Baptist service that was mostly Americans with the exception of a few. This is the church that I met Mrs. Benjamin the co-author of a book called Bound for the Promised Land. She and her husband were the first Messianic Jews to return to Israel. She was a pleasure to meet. I found out later that she and her husband were good friends with Karen’s parents (my friend from Buda) when they lived here 20 years ago—the world just keeps getting smaller.

We visited a small congregation with a dynamic and evangelical pastor, A Voice in the Wilderness. We loved this church. Their love for their Messiah was clearly written on each person’s face. The service was translated in German and is sometimes translated in Hebrew. They spoke of many trips to Egypt and Jordan to share their faith.

There were 2 churches in Old City we visited. One was an Arab church which we listened with headset to a translation in English. The girls really enjoyed the children’s church and I loved sitting among so many Arab Christians sharing a common love for Jesus Christ. There are some Arab Catholics with roots dating all the way back to the beginning of the church in 30 AD. Then there are others that have converted from Islam—their lives are much different. Many live secret lives because of the impending death sentence if their families were to find out. Nonetheless, there are many who do choose this life. Amazing, right? I wonder how different my walk would be if the sacrifice were greater.

The other church in Old City was Christ Church. This was a beautiful church right across the street from the Tower of David inside Jaffa Gate. The service was liturgical with communion at the end. Celine wasn’t sure what she had just drank when the cup was passed to her. In our church, grape juice is the drink of choice. At Christ Church, a nice dry, fruity, red wine was served which explains the large crowd… I’m kidding. : )

King of Kings was one of the last churches we visited. It is a ministry to reach Jews. They have English services and Hebrew services. However, in the English service we still sung some of the songs in Hebrew. I loved this.

The one synagogue we attended was on Purim. It was wonderful to hear the scriptures sung in Hebrew as we followed along in English. Of course, we will never forget the reading of Esther with the clanging noise makers at the mention of “Haman.”

I guess my impression of visiting these churches is that it wasn’t much different than being at church in Buda, Texas. Sure, it was a more relaxed and laid back environment, the languages varied and there were very few children. But their expressions of Jesus were the same as were the messages being taught: we must be in the world shining bright, spreading the Gospel, etc. The one thing that was different was when we read of Jesus walking the road to Mt. Olive or the Via Dolorosa, the words are the same but now it is more intimate because the people hearing the message have walked the same road, have seen the same wilderness, the picture in their heads are more clear--there is a reference.

4. What was your scariest experience? What person or people scared you?

Mizpah Ramon, Israel’s Grand Canyon. Notice no fences at the cliff. While we were there, there were 2 small boys that were playing very close to the edge with no parents in site. The building is the visitors’ center.

There are many scary adventures to mention. The cliffs and deep cisterns are a sure death with one wrong step. Part of their beauty is there untouched presence. Stupidity and carelessness has a final outcome at places like Petra, Masada and Mizpah Ramon.

DSC_0235_00Lillian says her scariest adventure was Hezekiah’s tunnel. This is a tunnel that was dug/chiseled during Hezekiah’s reign to supply water during the impending Assyrian siege (701BC). It is fed by a spring and still carries water today. At places the water reached Lillian’s arm pits. During the rainy season it would have been over her head. It is an amazing experience and runs for about 533 meters – 20 minute walk. At times you have to duck to keep from hitting your head then towards the end, the ceiling reaches as high as a 2-story building. There will be more on Hezekiah’s Tunnel in a later blog.

Hezekiah’s Tunnel. You can see on Celine’s pants how high the water got. Lillian was carried through by Tally during the deepest parts. For most of the way it was only about a foot deep. The water was clear, cold and running at a good clip. The rest of us thought it was pretty cool. Lillian was ready for it to end just seconds after entering but she persevered.

Celine and Tally say they don’t have a scary moment.

Eric’s scariest moment was his archeological final. His professor is a world renowned Biblical archeologist and knows everything about everything archeological. He is a Jewish man with a rich life. I had the opportunity to sit with him during a “foodies” break on a field study. In a discussion of how the media has over dramatized the situation in Jerusalem, men like Stalin and Hitler came up. I was astonished to hear him say that “Stalin is my savior.” I asked him how a man like Stalin could be anyone’s “savior.” He admitted that Stalin did horrible things but with regards to his family, it was only because of Stalin that they were able to escape the Germans. As a young boy,  he and his family were able to escape Hungary only after the Red Army came in and prevented German occupation. What a world that must have been to exist in. He indeed is a fascinating man and according to Eric, delivers one heck of a final.

Colleen with Dr. Barkay at Jerash.



We can’t think of any person or peoples we were ever afraid of. The Israelis are a very friendly people, Jews and Arabs alike. To watch them drive though may give you another impression. Behind a wheel, these people are crazy. Also, if I had been one of the tourist having stones thrown at them at Temple Mount or one of the elementary age Jewish students trying to tour the Canaanite tunnel in the City of David while having Arab boys throw stones at them, I may have a different story to tell. The fear on these kids faces was a hard pill to swallow as we waited in line behind them to enter the tunnel.

The City of David sits on the edge of the Kidron Valley. Just on the other side facing the City of David is a neighborhood called Silwan, east Jerusalem. It is advised not to enter unless you live there. Even Muslims don’t enter this neighborhood if they don’t live there.

5. Besides friends and family, what have you missed the most about the USA?

The girls missed Root Beer.

Eric missed cheap food and hotels. We are so spoiled using Priceline in the states that we have a hard time spending so much on a hotel. In Israel, the hostels, Kibbutzim and hotels charge per person. We did stay at a great hostel at the base of Masada called Masada Guest House. They had a wonderful room with 5 beds and a full breakfast the next morning. An additional bonus was getting to Masada first thing in the morning. The sun can get pretty warm if you wait too long.

I have a hard time thinking of something I’ve missed. There are certainly things I have done without but I can’t say I have missed them. This trip had my name written all over it. It was hard to leave.

6. Is there something you wished you had seen or done? What would you do differently next time?

The 4 months we spent in Israel exceeded our expectations so much that it is difficult thinking of what we would do different. We loved our apartment, its location, the walks to school with our laundry, walking the streets, shopping at the markets, etc. However, there are things that we didn’t expect. For instance, Eric’s school schedule was so hectic that it didn’t leave much time for work or family. But it is hard to pick what he would have dropped to allow for that. The plus side is the girls and I got out more and really got to live in Jerusalem. By the time we left, we knew the city and the people well. Oh, this makes me think of one thing we wished we had done differently—learned more Hebrew. While many in Jerusalem speak English, there are many who don’t. We learned very basic words/phrases before arriving in Israel but being there, we wished we knew more. This was especially true with me as I was really the only one that gave it a shot. Eric knows far more Hebrew than I do but didn’t want to say it wrong. I, on the other hand, would use what I knew as often as I could. I didn’t always get it right but I loved how they would smile and give me the right word. Many times, they heard my accent and would respond in English. I would say, “Lo, mediber Evreet!” (No, speak Hebrew) My friend Karen was right, the Israelis appreciated the effort.

There were also times when no one could speak English and with my kitsat Evreet and their little English, we would have an interesting exchange. I once told the cashier at the grocery store, “Evening meal!” when I wanted to say, “Good evening!” I was half way home proudly recounting that exchange with I realized what I had said and had a good laugh at myself. It explained the strange smile I got from her. At all the tourists spots, Hebrew is not a necessity but in every day life, especially at the super markets, it is very helpful. For instance, I could have found things like sour cream and ground coffee several weeks earlier had I been able to ask for it in Hebrew or read Hebrew. When we traveled outside of Jerusalem, it was even more of a necessity as we found even fewer English speaking Israelis.

7. What are the top 3 grandest experiences that you have had..(i.e.riding the camel?)

Goodness, this is a challenge. There were so many!

Lillian’s 3 grandest moments were riding a horse in Petra, riding the toboggan down Mt. Hermon (highest pt in Israel with snow year round) and swimming at the hotel in Tiberius. 

Celine’s 3 grandest moments were walking through the cold water of Hezekiah’s tunnel, scaling Petra’s cliffs and riding the camel through Petra. She actually says she doesn’t have 3 favorites because she liked it all.

Tally’s 3 grandest moments were eating ice cream at the swings, seeing and scaling Petra and swimming at En Gedi (place where David hid from Saul).

Celine, Tally and Lillian enjoying the oasis of En Gedi while Eric photographs them from above. This is one of the places David hid from Saul. As you climb, you keep coming to these little water falls. You can barely see the falls just to the left and above Celine. IMG_2055


Eric’s 3 grandest moments were discovering the secrets of Petra, Wadi Arnon (vast, cavernous valley through which the Kings Highway cuts north and south Trans-Jordan) and experiencing life with the nomadic Bedouin families.

Tally, Celine and Eric standing dangerously close to ledge at Petra. You can see one of the carvings of pillars below.
Celine, Colleen, Lillian and Tally above the Wadi Arnon.
IMG_1989 Eric’s classmates asleep on the desert during their stay with the Bedouins. No running water or electricity.
IMG_1994 Each student had their own camel for this early morning outing. 

8. How many families lived in your building?

We had several neighbors, but none we ever met. The apartment on the same floor was a family dental practice and the rest of the apartments seemed to be occupied by singles or couples, no children. Of course, the neatest neighbor we had was President Shimon Peres. We were never invited for dinner or had cookies brought over for a house warming gift but we did enjoy talking to the guards. They were all very kind and kept us safe at night.

9. How about a picture of the solar water tank..we might be getting them here before long!

The solar tanks are everywhere. The Israelis are very energy efficient and recycle minded. Most every home hung their clothes out no matter the area and the lights had an automatic shut-off. The cars were all small but that may be out of necessity. The parking is limited and would be a tight squeeze for anything bigger than a mini-van which we saw very few of. What was amazing to watch were the tour busses weaving their way through the traffic. That is not a job I covet.

Water tanks on top of buildings. They are solar but for emergency there are electric buttons inside to heat water.


Well, that is all the questions we got but we certainly would entertain more if there is something you are curious about. Keep in mind that our answers are based on living in Israel just 4 months. We definitely don’t have all the answers and we can only answer according to our experiences but would love to be given the opportunity.

Shalom Ya’ll!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Celine, 10? Can’t be!

IMG_1448Posted by Mom

“Certainly  you made my mind and heart; you wove me together in my mother’s womb. I will give you thanks because your deeds are awesome and amazing. You knew me thoroughly; my bones were not hidden from you, when I was made in secret and sewed together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw me when I was inside the womb.  All the days ordained for me were recorded in your scroll  before one of them came into existence. How difficult it is for me to fathom your thoughts about me, O God! How vast is their sum total!” Ps 139:13-28


Well, my Baby Girl, “Bean” as Eric sometimes calls her, is now 10. On April 24th Celine turned 10. We had a wonderful time eating cake and ice cream with friends. Celine has made friends with a very sweet girl named Cate. Her daddy is a student at Jerusalem Univ. College. They are from Michigan where her daddy is the preacher. The wife, Libby has been such a joy to talk with while the kids play. She has 2 older sons that are adorable and keep busy with basketball at the school. Fortunately, Eric did not have a field study that weekend and was able to celebrate with us. Libby and her kids came and we all enjoyed the celebration for Celine.

IMG_1414 Cake and Ice Cream! Cate, Celine, Gabe, Bennet, Lillian, Libby, Tally
DSC_0046 Celine wearing her new hat.
DSC_0047 Purse that Cate gave Celine. Celine and Tally have loved these bags found in Old City.
IMG_1416 Cate, Celine and Lillian playing dress up after the party.


Back in February, Eric took all of us out to a restaurant, Olive, on Emik Refaim St. to celebrate our anniversary. It is a fun street lined with restaurants. While there, Celine saw a restaurant called Selina. She is often called Selina and asked if we would bring her there for her birthday. On the Monday, following her birthday we did just that and it was fabulous. Selina is kosher which means it will either serve meat dishes or dairy dishes. This was a meat restaurant so we knew not to expect creamy sauces or cheese on our “entrecote” burger (instead of “steak” they use “entrecote”). I had goose, Eric had chicken, Tally, Celine and Lillian shared entrecote and “schnitzel” dishes and we all shared some wonderful bread and chicken wings in teriyaki sauce. It was fancy and come to find out, the name was influenced by the young Mexican singer, Selina.

IMG_1418 Mom and Celine
IMG_1422 Celine pointing to “Selina.”
IMG_1423 Lillian lovin life!
IMG_1429 Celine and Lillian have a special handshake where they say, “best-friends-sisters.” They have a sweet relationship.
IMG_1426 Guess who Tally and Eric are listening so closely to—yes, me. : )
See the Sprite bottle in the foreground written in Hebrew?
IMG_1445 Tally being silly.
IMG_1447 After a wonderful dinner out on the town.


IMG_1433 IMG_1432
IMG_1434 IMG_1436

Card made by Tally for Celine. You can see under the heart, “P.S. look on back” which explains the  last page.

Celine was given a cool brown hat, purse from Cate, a pair of blue Star of David earrings, blue skirt, and an Israel wallet which, of course was blue. : ) Tally also crafted a beautiful cross and card for her. We also had just returned from Jordan so we told her it was for her birthday, : ) She’s on to us though.


Happy Mother’s Day!


Her children rise up and call her blessed,
her husband also praises her:
“Many daughters have done valiantly,
but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
Give her credit for what she has accomplished,
and let her works praise her in the city gates. Proverbs 31:

Shalom Ya’ll!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Our Home away from Home

Posted by Colleen

Eric will have his last final tomorrow morning at 8am. Then he is gone for 6 days roughing it with the Bedouins—cool, uh?

We have had many ask about our home so the girls and I have put together a short video for you.


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Hope you enjoyed that!

Questions for the Robishaws

Have you wanted to know something that we haven’t covered in our blogs? Are there things you wonder about that we left unclear? Wouldn’t it be fun to have you guys send in your questions and us post the answers, if we know them? Now that we have almost 4 months under our belts we thought we would give it our best shot. So many of you have had such great questions—things we don’t think to share. A week should give you enough time to send them in and that way we can post the answers before we leave on our “trip around Israel” before we fly out. So, send us your questions by May 12th and we will post answers on May 13th.

Now send in your questions! We are looking forward to them.

Shalom Ya’ll

Monday, May 3, 2010

T.L.C. Trivia Winner & Answers!

IMG_1518 Posted by Tally, Celine and Lillian and Mom

Thanks to all who sent us your answers. We enjoyed reading them and even learned some more about the items we chose to include in our Trivia Challenge. The winner of the challenge was Kathleen. Congratulations!

Before we give the answers we want to share with you a couple of things we have done lately.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love her prosper! Ps. 122:6

Dome of the Rock

We finally were able to get in to Temple Mount to see the Dome of the Rock. In the 4 months we have been in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount has been closed a lot to visitors because of rocks being thrown at the visitors. Every time we planned to go, we would get there and find it closed.

To be clear, the Temple Mount is the entire grounds which the Dome of the Rock, along with rooms for scholars, sheikhs and religious court offices, and a museum sit. This walled area takes up 1/6 of Old City. It shares its south and east walls with Old City. Herod the Great enlarged, built retaining walls and built the Second Temple on the platform that exist today. Herod’s Temple was destroyed in 70AD. After which palaces, a Temple to Jupiter and a church were built. It wasn’t until 687-691AD that the last Temple ruins were completely destroyed and the The Dome of the Rock was constructed.

The Dome of the Rock was built to serve as a shrine for pilgrims. Adjacent to it stands the Al Aqsa Mosque that was built in 709AD. It has been destroyed and rebuilt because of earthquakes because it is sitting upon the “fill” from Herod’s retaining wall built around 19BC.

It was great to finally get in and see where the Temple once stood, firsthand. What is also important to remember is in 1967, the Jews made a decision not to destroy the Dome of the Rock as a gesture of peace to the Palestinians and allow control of the mount to stay in the hands of the Palestinians.

The Cotton Market is a souk within Old City that also serves as one of the entrances to the Temple Mount. However, only Muslims are allowed to enter through it. Non-Muslims, like us, are allowed to exit the Temple through the Cotton Market which is what we did. It is no different from any other souk except that it opens to the Temple Mount. I’ve included pics for my brother, Calvin. When he visited, the Temple Mount was closed most of the time because of riots.

IMG_1477 Dome of the Rock—notice the marble columns in front.
IMG_1474 Dome of the Rock—Muslim women sitting on side of shrine.
IMG_1453 West side of Al-Aqsa Mosque with a courtyard of old columns in the foreground.
IMG_1483 “Gate of the Cotton Merchants”
IMG_1484 Inscription to the right of Cotton Market gate.
IMG_1485 Tally at the entrance of the Cotton Market
IMG_1486 Muslim smoking his nargila or waterpipe. This is very popular among indigenous Palestinians and the Mizrahi (Middle East)Jews. It is common to see men gathered together smoking a single nargila.


Beit Shemesh and Ashkelon

Sunday, we spent the morning hiking through Beit Shemesh. We had a little rain but it was a great hike. Beit Shemesh was a Biblical city that was on the border of Judah and Dan Territories. It was one of the 13 cities the Israelites assigned to the priests descended from Aaron. It is also the city the Ark of the Covenant was led by the 2 cows after the Philistines had plagued by its presence. King Jehoash of Israel captured King Amaziah of Judah, son of Jehoash son of Ahaziah, in Beth Shemesh. There are springs there that definitely made it desirable. However, the the Babalonians sealed the springs which weren’t opened back up until 2004. The waterworks in Beit Shemesh were very advanced.

We then got back on the bus and rode to Ashkelon, a coastal city on the Mediterranean Sea. On the way, we drove through the Elah Valley, which lies in the Shepelah (Hill Country) just before you get to the coastal region. The Elah Valley is where the Philistines and Israelites were going to fight but little David, son of Jesse, killed the giant, Goliath, with just a sling-shot and stone. Goliath’s grave sight is thought to be at the park we ended our hike at in Beit Shemesh. It is certainly possible but not certain.

Ashkelon has a long history being occupied chronologically by Canaanite, Philistine, Phoenician, Iranian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and Crusader. In 2000 BC, Ashkelon was a thriving city with the oldest city gate in the world—8 feet wide. It stands 2 stories high even in ruin.

The beach was beautiful, the weather was sunny with a cool breeze and great waves. Eric and I took a walk down the beach finding really cool ancient walls in ruin as well as many marble columns laying in the sand as the water would rush over them. I can’t figure how to fit them in my suitcase. Wouldn’t that be a great souvenir? To top it off, we had gone with the school which meant we didn’t have to drive or pack lunch. On the way home, Lillian got the treat of a lifetime, the guy leading the trip treated everyone to a McDonald’s ice cream cone—like he was reading her mind. 

For recognition of the Lord’s sovereign majesty will fill the earth just as the waters fill up the sea. Hab. 2:14

IMG_1500 Robishaws at Ashkelon on the Mediterranean Sea.
IMG_1494 Eric, Tally and Celine are in the water behind Lillian. She loves running from the waves. The students of JUC are in the background.
IMG_1497 Tally in the Mediterranean Sea.
IMG_1495 Celine and the start of her awesome pyramid (not shown).
IMG_1496 Lillian in the Mediterranean Sea.
IMG_1506 Mom and Celine at the Mediterranean Sea.
IMG_1498 Trying to get a picture of all the girls. Anyone who knows Lillian knows she is not going to stay put for long…
IMG_1504 Construction of an aqueduct to feed Celine’s hole she dug.


Trivia Challenge Answers

image 1.
What is this?
*Why do some have 7 and some have 9 holders?
7-used in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, symbol of Judaism since ancient times and the emblem of the modern state of Israel. 9-Hanukah, one extra day and a helper (Shamash) candle.
IMG_0323_thumb[1] 2.
What is the man holding?
image 3.
What mountain are we looking at?
Mt. Olive, just east of Old City.
image 4.
What is this?
*On what holiday is this the staple?
Passover (Pesach)
image 5.
What is the green bin?
recycling bin
IMG_0231_thumb[1] 6.
Who is mom standing next to?
Israeli riot policeman
*Where are they standing?
Western Wall Plaza
image 7.
What is this? 
Yad (hand)Torah pointer
*Do you know what is it used for?
Used to point at scripture to keep from touching the sacred parchment.
image 8.
Who is this?
Israeli President Shimon Peres and he is our neighbor.
image 9.
What is this?
Bag of milk. My friend Karen remembers drinking from individual bags of chocolate milk as a child in Jerusalem.
IMG_0306_thumb 10.
What street are we climbing up?
Yemin Moshe
*Who are we with?
Collin and Ryan
image 11.
What is this man wearing?
Talith (prayer shawl)
image 12.
What is this symbol?
Star of David
image 13.
What are these called by the Jewish people?
Kippa (Hebrew)
*What do we call them in the US?
100_9995_thumb[4] 14.
Who’s house are we looking at?
President’s home
*What is the name of the street?
Hanasi- taken from the gate to our home
image 15.
What is this?
*When is it used?
bread eaten on Shabbat (Sabbath)
image 16.
What do you call the strings hanging down from under the boys’ shirts?
Tzitzit (bundle of 8 strings)
image 17.
What is this structure called?
Dome of the Rock
*Where is it located in Jerusalem?
On the Temple Mount in Old City
image 18.
What is this furry thing?
Shtreimel worn by married Heredi Jewish men particularly Hasidic sects.
image 19.
What is the language?
*What is this document for?
the original parchment written by a rabbi containing Deut. 6:4-9 and 11: 13-21 that goes inside the mezuzah.
image_thumb[9] 20.
What is this?
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
*Where did we see a similar one?
We have seen these fly over our home (really the President's home, but we live across the street)
image 21.
On what holiday do you see this?
*Who is it named for?
Hamantash—named for Haman (Booo!)
image  22.
What do you call the metal thing attached to this door frame?
*Name some places you find them.
Front door of home, bedrooms, businesses, Old City gates
image 23.
What building is this?
The Knesset- the legislature of Israel
image 24.
What is this IDF soldier doing?
praying, This is not the Western Wall, but seeing soldiers pray there is common. 
image 25.
What is this?
Spices in the suk
image 26.
What neighborhood is this?
Mishkenot Sha'ananim (Yemin Moshe runs down the center)
*What is the name of the windmill?
Montefiore Windmill
image 27.
Where can you find these in abundance?
*How many of these did we have before moving to Jerusalem?
image 28.
What gate is this?
Jaffa Gate
*Where are you when you enter?
Old City
image 29.
Who is this?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
image 30.
What is this?
An old olive tree
image 31.
What is this? (Hint: If you can read Hebrew, the word above the crest will help.)
Jerusalem Flag
The Israel flag is just like this except with a star of David in the center.
image 32.
What is the building in the top-center?
JUC, Eric’s School
*Name of the valley below?
Hinnom Valley (Gihinnom)
image 33.
What building is this?
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
image 34.
What is this?
*What is it made of?
Garbonzo beans (chick peas)
image 35.
What is this?
image 36.
What does this say?
Hebrew letters Chai and Yod-read right to left, means "Life." You see this a lot on jewelry
image 37.
Who is this?
*In most of the stories he tells, what grade is he in?
Eric is usually in the 5th grade in the stories he tells.

Thanks for playing!

Shalom Ya’ll!