Thursday, April 10, 2008


There we were , were history wrote itself .. thousands upon thousands of years ago.. Everywhere you look echos of the past peeked through stone.. Before getting to explore the old city one of our first stops was the Hadassah Hospital. Upon arriving at Hadassah Hospital we went through a thorough security search. Yes.. before you can even drive up there .. Guards stop you. What Hospital do you know that has programs like this . They do research , cardiac care .. and so much more.. check out the website.. at the link above. Treating everyone .. no barrier ... Doing continuous research on various illnesses and developing state of the art treatments.. that is Hadassah Hospital.. Hadassah Hospital also houses a gift from the great artist Marc Chagall the Chagall windows .
We then visited Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyr's and Hero's museum. You enter the museum in limited groups .. You see a film of how life was prior to the war.. then you walk down and see the beginning the room zig zags .. there is no straight walk through in this museum.. from one corner to the other.. you walk.. diving deeper and deeper into this bog of hell. diving deeper and deeper into more than 6 million nightmares.. you watch as worlds and villages and lives and people are torn apart.. you see a side of human nature that will rip into your very core.. and all you do is ask yourself why.. We saw the childrens museum prior to walking into the main area.. there is a candle reflected millions of times.. and all you can see.. is the reflection of this candle and all you can do is ask yourself why??.. and then you think of each of those names as they are read... who would have been a writer, and you see a face.. long gone... who would have been a doctor, and you see innocent eyes...long gone...who would have been a great leader, you see a wise face in youth.. long gone.... who would develop the next big ... nothing.. because .. each of these souls burned for nothing.. for no reason other than hate.. for no reason other than they were jewish.. we lost their future.. we lost those minds.. we lost and they lost all possibility. For nothing. You wind around in the maze of darkness .. and come back into the warmth of the day .. and then you go to the main museum.. as I said.. you do not walk straight through this place.. you go on a journey. You are not alone.. this museum is packed , wall to wall with people.. and each nook you visit you are a little annoyed by all the people around you because you just want to read .. and see.. and then you start thinking maybe they put so many people at a time in here so one can understand how the ghettos felt.. crowded .. no room .. you looked around you .. and looked at the kids visiting and you could not help but wonder as they played with cell phone cameras.. or joked with their friends.. did this generation get it.. Does this generation see.. Tourists there.. seem to understand... and perhaps these young people understand in their own way.. because toward the middle of the museum.. it was more quiet .. and as you studied displays or watched a short snippet of history play out on screen.. you saw them watching too.. you walk through each facet until you end up in liberation.. even then the struggle was not over.. For some there were remnants of families .. for others they were orphans..no one.. only them left.. .. when you exit the building you see a magnificent view of jerusalem... and the breeze of the day brings you back into the current moment.. so you stand there for a while and reflect on what you have seen..
We toured more through out the day Seeing the Shrine of the Book and the Dead Sea Scrolls.. while all was interesting.. and incredible to see.. Yad Vashem and Seeing the Hadassah hospital a glimpse of a past and a glimpse of the present and future.. stayed with me through out the day...
The next day.. we toured through various neighborhoods in Jerusalem .. On Friday Many Moslems go to Prayer at their local Mosques .. It is very busy and the streets are crowded as the men walk to the various Mosques... cars are parked on sidewalks .. during that time we toured rather quickly a couple palestinian neighborhoods.. well with out going into too much detail.. they need garbage pick up service BADLY.. I could not get over how filthy the area was .. garbage and more garbage.. we saw the barrier wall up and went back over to the other side.. though battered and old in some areas.. it was clean.. During the day we also toured an ultra orthodox neighborhood.. I can not say the people were friendly as they covered their faces when they saw us.. ( as not have curiousity about visitors in their neighborhood.)
We went to the Machaneh Yehuda open-air Market .. it was so busy and fun.. people were busily getting ready for Shabbat ( jewish Sabbath) here you heard the bellows once again of good shabbos.. Everything you could imagine was here too...
We went to the Western wall after all of this..and here is a live cam shot of the wall... it was so much more than I expected .. and so much smaller an area than I ever thought.. for some reason I thought it was a very large area.. but it really is not.. We went through security again... and then The men went in on one side and the women on the other.. We covered our heads and waiting our turn to tuck our notes in the crevices of this holy place. It is custom to write prayers on small pieces of paper and tuck them in the wall.. I had six small notes.. that I tucked into a crevice near the ground.. every where you looked notes were tucked. IT was Shabbat so it was starting to get a little busy at the wall.... we said our prayers and left.. Saturday we went back to the old city for a walking tour.. winding in and out and up and down alley ways and stairways.. through the Jewish Quarter , the Christian Quarter, The Armenian Quarter and the Muslim quarter .. a tapestry of religions... We walked through the Arab Market... between friendly remarks of ~ I know I have just what you want.. or ~Hey you wanna shop in my store... ~ the Arab market was an adventure ..Sunday.. we visited the Mt. of Oives and walked down.. the view from the top was amazing.. we walked down the VERY STEEP slope stopping periodically to look at points of interest.. we found our way back into the Old city... and we visted the Davidson Archaeological Center and here .. we toured the Western wall Tunnels .. On of my favorite museums was the Menachim Begin Heritage Center .. ..
Monday was left to us.. We spent our day getting lost in the twist and turns of the Old City..we wandered back to the Wall.. it was very crowded.. Bar mitzvah after Bar mitzvah was going on.. Dancing and singing too.. Rebecca and I finally were able to get on the womens side.. say a prayer at the wall and then go over and stand on a chair to watch what was going on on the mens side... Since this was not shabbat it was fine to do this.. Women were throwing Candy over on the mens side.. as celebration after celebration took place.. there were wedding blessings going on.. it was so happy .. and joyous.. at one point I was standing alone waiting for Steve and I struck up a conversation with this guy unloading a truck... we talked about Israel and we talked about the wall and how busy it gets. he explained that Monday and Tuesday were busy Bar Mitzvah days... so I could see.. as I stood there Alone.. it occured to me.. that I really was not alone .. I could strike up a conversation and since most folks had some command of the english language it was fairly easy to do.. .. We walked and walked and finally decided we should head back to the hotel .. since we would be boarding a plane soon.
On a side note we loved the Ben Yehuda Street area.. here are just a few things you might see there.. on any given day ...or night...Ethiopian Drum Circle , Someone Dancing with Fire, Singing and Dancing , Harpist ( we actually saw her) and then there is always Jerusalem reggae style
I miss Israel.. I miss it all.. .. From the top.. to the middle to the bottom.. Golan, Jerusalem, Negev... AM YISRAEL CHAI ( .. The people of Israel Live) ...

ISRAEL MARCH 16th to April 1st 2008

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