Sunday, April 4, 2010

Look Who’s Coming to Dinner!

Posted by Colleen

First, I need to report that the blogs are coming a bit slower now because Eric has been on a whirlwind of field studies. Presently, he is in Galilee for another 3 days. He is actually staying at a kibbutz in far north Israel near the Lebanon border. They were on the border of Lebanon today where the conflicts took place a couple of years ago. He is also visiting prisons—some from Crusaders, some from the British Mandate era and others. With all these field studies (some lasting up to 5 days), tests, and mid-terms, he has had little time to contribute to the blog. Hopefully, on his return he can get some writing done for the blog. Pray for him, as this has been a crazy time. He is juggling quite a bit right now with school, work and spending time with us. But we, the girls, are so proud of him and are encouraging him at every turn, knowing that this is a tremendous privilege, not to be taken for granted.

Palm Sunday

Before leaving for Galilee we got to watch the Palm Sunday procession come over and down Mt. Olive, through the Kidron Valley then up again entering the Lion Gate of Old City. The procession ended at St. Ann’s Church. Other than Priests, a group of Catholic Arabs led the procession. Their uniforms were similar to the Scouts. A gentleman near me who was taking a picture of his daughter in the procession told me who they were. The crowds consisted of all varieties of Christians including various Arabs. At one point during the procession I was standing near a couple of young Arab men, one with crosses tattooed on his neck and arms – that’s different.

DSC_0531 Mt. Olive in the background with procession of people crossing the Kidron Valley onto Derech Jericho (street on the east side of Old City which would take you to Jericho).
IMG_0704 Parade being led by priests and Arab Christian Scouts.
IMG_0708 Arab Catholic girl holding her palm. Notice the beautiful weaving and decorating.
DSC_0556 Procession up Derech Jericho (the street on the east side of Old City which would take you to Jericho).
IMG_0727 Entering Lion Gate after crossing the Kidron Valley. Tally is wearing the khaki hat and Celine is wearing the white hat.
DSC_0576 The crowds at St. Ann’s church where the processional ended with dancing, singing and speaking. Not sure what the speaking was because it was in Hebrew.
IMG_0751 Arab Christian band. They had several bands. Which also marched on Good Friday through Old City and yesterday in a parade.
IMG_0756 Arab Orthodox Scout band. They were leading the exit of St. Ann’s Church.

A Visitor from Texas

As far as what the girls and I have been up to? Well, we have had a couple more visitors since the Weeks family was here. Last week, Scott from McGregor, TX visited Israel with a small group. Scott is the husband of my dear friend Susannah. He and his friends spent the first part of their week traveling around in Tel Aviv, Galilee region and the Negev. They were blessed by a wonderful guide who they were able to share the Gospel of Christ with. Please pray that any seeds planted there will harvest into a full saving knowledge of Yeshua the Messiah. When they got to Jerusalem, we got to join him one night for a walk to Ben Yehuda, then on to a restaurant called the Speghettim. He treated us to a wonderful Italian dinner where I got to hear all about what he and Susannah have been up to since their recent move. After dinner, we walked with him to the YMCA building for a meeting he was attending. I wish we could have seen more of him but I love that he got to see as many of the wonderful sites this country richly offers as he did.

And Another from Virginia

This past week, my brother was here visiting. This is only the second time in like 8 years we’ve gotten to see Calvin, and the first time we’ve seen  him on the other side of the world. When he arrived around 8pm, we took him to a falafel stand around the corner. We thought that was a fitting introduction to Jerusalem. While there are no drive-thru restaurants, the falafel is to Jerusalem what the hamburger is to America. We then walked him to Ben Yehuda for some ice cream (not the swinging chair establishment). There were a few shops still open for him to do a little shopping.

IMG_0767 Eating falafel with Calvin near our home on Harlap St.
IMG_0768 Eating ice cream on Ben Yehuda.

The next morning, we headed to Old City to introduce him to some of our favorite spots: David Street, The Cardo, and Western Wall, where Eric met us after his classes. We headed back up to the Cardo to eat lunch but our favorite bagel shop was closed for Pesach (Passover). Monday is the holy day of the week of Passover so it was the first day that leaven was absent from the homes and kosher restaurants. Since they haven’t figured out how to pull off a bagel using matzo (unleavened, dry, cracker-like “bread”), they were closed. Fortunately, the schwarma/falafel shop next door was open. Due to Passover the meals came on plates instead of in pita, like a big salad. Not to worry because that morning I had thrown a bag of pita in our backpack for “snacking” throughout the day. We decided we would make sandwiches out of our salads. Yeah! It was good. However, the kosher Jews around us didn’t appreciate our resourcefulness. After being pointed at and eyed, a gentleman from the restaurant very nicely told us that we had to put the pita away because it wasn’t kosher. I felt so bad. I just assumed that once we bought our food, we could do whatever we wanted with it—not true. We certainly didn’t want to be offensive so we quickly put away the remaining pita and finished our lunch. Great lesson we learned.

IMG_0770 Calvin, Tally, Celine and Lillian standing in front of one of the bougainvilleas that grow so beautifully in Jerusalem.
IMG_0782 Calvin and Eric at the Western Wall. They are on the right walking this way.

We had hoped to take Calvin to the Archeological Gardens but it had closed early for Pesach. We took Calvin over to the City of David and while he and Eric walked around and talked “Bible”, the girls and I searched for more pottery and tiles. Calvin loved the ancient tile pieces so we vigorously searched the ground for more. Celine was the champion archeologist that day finding around 40 tiles. These tiles are about 3 cubic centimeters big and were used to tile the floors. If you have seen the mosaics, well, these tiles are just a little bigger than that. If you are wondering if we stole from the site, the answer is NO. The path that you walk on to see the City of David is full of pottery pieces and these tiles. Technically, we removed pieces of the path like you would if you were walking along a gravel road.

We descended into the Kidron Valley from the City of David which overlooks it then walked back north toward Mt. Olive. In the bottom of the Valley are the tombs carved from the mountain. Calvin is an explorer by nature and seemed to love these enormous structures and the caves within them.

IMG_0788 Calvin and Tally with Kidron Valley below and Mt. Olive in the background. You can see some of the Arab homes in east Jerusalem behind them.
IMG_0799 Calvin standing by one of the tombs at the base of Mt. Olive in the Kidron Valley. Tally is the orange dot on the right of the tomb.
IMG_0813 Calvin, Celine and Lillian in front of the Church of Gethsemane.
IMG_0814 Church of Gethsemane olive trees. Believed to be from the saplings after Titus cut down all the olive trees in 70AD.
IMG_0824 Eric, Calvin and Lillian on road leading up Mt. Olive.

We ascended back up towards Old City and entered the Lion Gate. St. Ann’s Church is just inside the gate past the Muslim entrance to Temple Mount. We were so excited that it was still open and got to show Calvin. Remember this is the church built by the Crusaders that has a 7 second echo? Well, we were standing under the dome, whistling and singing “Hallelujah” when a nun came over and told us that it was inappropriate to sing Hallelujah the week before Easter – it’s to be a somber week. Calvin explained to her that we’ve been singing Hallelujah since the resurrection, as we should. On our way out of the church grounds, after showing him the pools of Bethsaida which is beside the church, the Priest asked if we enjoyed our visit and specifically if we enjoyed singing in the church. He was disappointed that we had been asked to stop singing. He definitely thought our music had been appropriate. Must have been a fuddy-duddy nun. From there we headed for the Jaffa Gate to return home. 

IMG_0827 Calvin, Eric, Tally, Lillian and Celine entering the Lion Gate. Just inside this gate is the Muslim entrance to the Temple Mount.
IMG_0838 Calvin, Eric and the girls on the other side of the Pool of Bethsaida. Check out how enormous they are. No wonder the guy didn’t want to get in by himself.

The next morning we met Eric at school and took a cab to the Herodion (aka Herodium) which is 5 miles south of Jerusalem. The Herodion was as amazing the second time as it was the first. I think Calvin was awed. He would often say, “It is good to be King.” As you know, it was King Herod that had the Herodion built. He was a large man and they say that his biggest accomplishment (he had many) was dying of old age – or at-least not by murder.

IMG_0894 Calvin on top of the Herodion. Jordan in the background.
IMG_0908 Calvin descending into the tunnels and cisterns of Herodion.
IMG_0910 Calvin, Celine and Lillian looking down into one of the cisterns. The door above opens out on the side of the man-made mountain.
IMG_0912 Herd of goats and sheep crossing the road. The driver was nudging them out of the way. Yikes!

We then traveled back through Jerusalem to Jericho. I haven’t seen much evidence that drivers in Israel are aware that there are others on the road but the driver we had on this day was an extreme case. By the time we reached (Joshua’s era) Jericho I was so sick. Eric, the girls and Calvin all ate lunch then got on the cable car to ascend up to Temptation Monastery -- the same one Eric and I climbed up to during one of his field studies. I stayed behind with my head in my hands because I was so sick from the drive. By the time they returned from the monastery, my nausea had turned into a bad headache so they went on to the Jericho tel without me. Calvin had expected it to be much bigger but enjoyed the excavations of the oldest city on earth.

HPIM3107 Eric pointing the Temptation Monastery in Jericho from cable car (“bumper car” as Lillian calls them).
HPIM3117 Calvin and Lillian checking out the landing pad for the “bumper car.”
HPIM3155 Eric and Tally in the Monastery. Notice the cliff on the right and the buildings on the left.
IMG_0929 Calvin on the porch of Temptation Monastery. It is a long way down.
IMG_0958 Eric, Celine and Calvin walking up the Jericho Tel.
DSC_0633 Calvin climbing on the Neolithic tower at the Jericho Tel.

When we returned to Jerusalem, we took Calvin to the rooftop of Eric’s school where he got a beautiful view of the Hinnom and Old City.

One thing that Calvin didn’t like was seeing the entire west side of Mt. Olives covered in coffins. For those of you that have never seen Mt. Olive, it is mostly a graveyard for those who want to be there when the “Messiah” comes and for others when Y’shua the Messiah returns. Like Calvin, I also found it strange that I had never heard or seen pictures of this. The mountain was once covered in olive trees but Titus, the Roman ruler, cut down all the trees in the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. There are olive trees at the base of Mt. Olive and in the garden at the Gethsemane Church. Some of the trees at Gethsemane Church are about 1600 years old.

The following day, we rented a car and headed to Caesarea. This was amazing. Again, this was another Roman palace built by Herod the Great. Each of his palaces have a uniqueness about them and this one is no different. He didn’t have to build a mountain to place his palace on but he did have to invent a concrete that would harden in water. This is exactly what he did. His palace sat out over the water and even had a fresh-water swimming pool in it. Just down the beach is a Crusader fortress that is now a tourist center with shops and restaurants. Eric’s got a blog dedicated to Caesarea coming soon.

IMG_1032 Crusader fortress, moat in foreground.
IMG_0988 Calvin, Tally, Celine and Lillian at Caesarea.
IMG_1002 Herod’s palace in the water. The box in the center was a fresh water swimming pool. Eric and Lillian in foreground. Tally is in pool.
IMG_1006 Calvin standing on Herod’s palace in the Mediterranean Sea. Very cool.

Getting to the palace was an adventure in itself. It seems like going to the coast during Pesach is quite popular. We hit a lot of traffic which put us behind schedule. Even so, we had a full day and we all enjoyed seeing the country of Israel with Eric as our driver and Calvin as our navigator.

From the coast we headed to Mt. Carmel. The view from top was amazing. A blog dedicated to Mt Carmel and the view of Jezreel Valley below is coming soon.

IMG_1038 Eric teaching from the top of Mt. Carmel with Lillian.
IMG_1037 Tally and Celine with Jezreel valley below from the top of Mt. Carmel.

On we traveled to Beit She’an. After climbing to and up the tel at Beit She’an you then make your way to the edge of the tel where you over look one of the most extensive city of ruins I have ever seen—Scythopolis. Again, a blog on this site is in the works.

IMG_1058 Scythopolis theatre.
IMG_1050 Tally and Celine with an Egyptian statue.
IMG_1053 Calvin, Lillian, Celine, Tally and Eric looking down on Scythopolis. You can see the theatre in the background with the cardo just in front of Eric.
IMG_1057 Celine with enormous colonnade below at Scythopolis.

Our last stop was the Sea of Galilee itself, known to Israelis as the Kinneret or the Galil. We arrived just before sunset at a kibbutz that Eric had stayed at the week before. The girls played in the water as we watched the sun go down behind the city of Tiberias. It was so beautiful. The water was rough as Eric recounted a couple of stories for us. We drove around the entire lake as we returned home. I loved seeing all the campers on the shores in their little pup-tents tents. We also saw a large number of young adults hitchhiking—something we haven’t seen in Jerusalem.

DSC_0072 City of Tiberius with Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) in the foreground.
DSC_0073 Celine at the Sea of Galilee. Tiberius in the background.
DSC_0045 Calvin collecting water for his students from the Sea of Galilee.
DSC_0046 Calvin at the Sea of Galilee.

When we stopped to eat, most of us had schwarma but Eric got pizza which came on matza crust. During Pesach, they make their pizza crust by crushing matza bread and using it for their dough. Although crumbly, Eric said it was pretty good.

Our last day with Calvin was just as full as the rest. We started our morning dropping Eric off at his bus at 7;30AM for another field study to Galilee. Once we returned the car, Calvin and I went to the suk. We recently found out that the Arabs say “suk” and the Jews say “Shuk.” We bought persimmons, loquats, almond fruit, tomatoes, carrots, passion fruit (also known as parcha, lilikoi or maracuya), bananas, halva (a dessert made from sugar and a nut butter) and an assortment of olives. Everything was wonderful except the almond fruit. Calvin and I decided that we prefer to wait for the almond. Eric learned in one of his classes that the almond can be eaten 2 different ways. When they first bloom they are a green fuzzy fruit that can be eaten whole but later become almonds. They are not nuts but drupes. We actually eat the seed of an almond, not a nut. 

We returned home by way of the Prime Minister’s residence which is when we found out that they won’t allow you to take pictures of it. Calvin had taken one picture when we were approached by the guards. They asked him to delete it. So now we know.

After dropping off the groceries at home, Calvin, Celine, Lillian and I left for Old City. Calvin was hoping to see the Temple Mount but because the Palestinians are still not behaving themselves it was only open for about 40 minutes. They had closed just 10 minutes before we arrived. This also kept us from going into the Cotton market which is only accessible from Temple Mount. Calvin had plenty of shopping to do for his students back home so we didn’t skip a beat and kept on walking. While in the Muslim Quarter we stopped and had a cup of Arabic coffee with cardoman (a spice) while the girls had some very delicious pizza. We walked along the Old City wall between the Zion and Jaffa gate for some pictures Calvin wanted to take then it was David St in Old City to find the remainder of items on his list.

IMG_1068 Calvin, Celine, Tally and Lillian in front of our courtyard. Tally won’t like that I included this picture but she was sick this day and stayed home.
IMG_1069 Calvin, Celine, Tally and Lillian in front of our courtyard.
IMG_1070 Calvin loading his luggage on the sharoot to take him to the airport. “Bye Calvin!”

Watching Calvin leave was sad. He is the last of our visitors. One of the joys of being in Jerusalem is sharing it with others. That is why our blog has meant so much to us. It is so wonderful to be able to come home and share this wonderful country with our family and friends! The next blog should be coming from Eric and should be a real treat.


Till then, Chag Sameach (KHAHG sah-MEHY-ahkh) which means “joyous festival.” The Jews use this greeting during the festivals of Sukkot, Shavu’ot and Pesach.


caroline said...

Poor Tally, I hope she feels better!

Anonymous said...

I know Calvin is thankful to have his little sister and her family as his tour guides!!! Sounds like y'all packed in a lot...when you weren't getting into touble!!! Oh My!!

Love, Mom

Unknown said...

I read this in two sections over two days :) Now I can't remember all the comments I had as I read over it but I really enjoyed it. Sounds like you guys did a ton with Calvin and I'm sure you made some treasured memories.

Funny - I had never heard of Pesach till just before you mentioned it in one of your was from a Jewish friend of mine here - and I didn't know she was referring to Passover. Is it only recently that it's being referred to as Pesach instead of Passover? That might be a stupid question but I've just never heard it till now.

Why have I always imagined the Sea of Galilee as a very yucky place? Did Calvin try to swim in it?

I was wondering - now that your time there is past the halfway mark - what are the girls' impressions of it at this point? Sad to go? Ready to get back? Thoughts of coming back as adults? Ideas of careers sparked? etc?

Besides just the marvel of it all and the richness this must add to your understanding of the Bible, what are some of the major impressions or changes it has had on you and Eric?