Hannah and Je together

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Fourth Day – Museums

Today is my Museum day.  I wanted use the public transportation in Jerusalem.  I looked for the way in Google Maps.  I went to the Light rail station and bought two tickets at the vending machine.  But I was not able to find the bus stop for 66, so I came back to the Jaffa Gate for the Tourist Information Centre, and they taught me different road from the Google Maps.

Jerusalem Bus

Jerusalem Bus

So I got on the bus.  I gave the ticket to the bus driver, but he did not let me go back of the bus.  He said something, and I guessed he was saying to pay.  So I explained him that I bought the ticket this morning and never used yet.  But he was kept saying “Ofaam! Ofaam!”  And he did not understand me nor speak English.  We were not able to communicate each other because of language barrier.

Then a few people from behind came to help me.  They were all young and wearing kipa, so I guess they are Jewish.  One of them said to the bus driver that he would pay for me.  I was so moved.  It is not about the money.  The bus fare is less than $2.  It is not much, but just that he offered the small kindness to stranger was big thing to me.  But I refused because I had money.  The other guy translated for me and I found out that I must use the ticket within hour and half after purchase.  That is kind of stupid I think.  So I’d better use cash on the bus.

I was surrounded by several Jews who offered me kindness competitively.  I paid the fare by cash, and everything was settled.  God bless them!  But I had one more problem.  The bus announcement was only in Hebrew, never in English.  I had no idea where to get off.  So I asked another guy next to me (middle-aged man wearing kipa).  I was not asked the driver because he does not speak English.  The middle-aged guy brought me to the bus driver, and asked him for me in Hebrew.  Then he asked me where I am from, and I said that I am from Chicago.  Then he and I had pleasant conversation about Chicago until he got off the bus.

Last night I was insulted twice by Palestinians, and this morning I received kindness from the Jews.  If you had exactly same experience as I, then whose friend would you be?  McCormick people and I know about the Israeli government’s ill-treatment over Palestinians, but how many people do you think know all about that?  Even the people who know, they would be pro-Jewish and anti-Palestinian having such experience.

Signet Ring

Signet Ring

I went to the Bible Land Museum first.  The picture above is a signet ring.  This is the combination of passport, credit card and property certificate in the ancient world.  Judah may have been wearing and handed something like this when he went into his daughter-in-law.

Sumerian Mythology

Sumerian Mythology

This is the Sumerian mythology about the creation of humankind.  The gods were so busy, stressed and tired of taking care of the world after creation.  Even they expressed their frustration to each other.  Then they created human so that they can get relieve of the work.  So according to the Sumerian mythology, we are just free labours for them.

Family Idols

Family Idols

And the museum also said that this is what Rachel might have hidden from her father.  And if so, I guess she was desperate to be pregnant, because they are all emphasizing woman’s sexuality, which is fertility.

Riding Man

Riding Man

This is a man riding.  And we can see his sexual organ clearly.  And look at the picture below too.

Ancient Women

Ancient Women

I think they were not ashamed of sex and they did not try to hide it in the ancient world.  Then why we came to bashing the sex?  Because we oppress the sex, it grows in the weird way, and we have a whole lot of porn industry, and even Hollywood depicts sex in the wrong way.

Lachish Battle

Lachish Battle

Then I went to the Israel Museum.  I did not take much photo here.  In both museums, I borrowed the audio guide device, and I literally listened to the explanation one by one, not even missing one.  I focused on learning rather than photo.  The above one is the Lachish battle, where I am going to dig from next week.

Shrine of the Book

Shrine of the Book

I also went to the Shrine of the Book.  By the January trip, the McCormick group all know what the shape means.  But today, I notice that the four corners of the shrine set is exactly look like the four corners of the altar.

I had so good time in the museum.  When the museum announced for its closing, I was surprised because I thought I just spent a few hours (I thought it was around 1pm).  And then I realised that I was not wearing my sunglasses any longer.  I had no idea what happened to my sunglasses.

Yaffo Street

Yaffo Street

Then I got on a bus, not the 66 but 7.  I was supposed to get off at Jaffa street.  I thought I would get the word Jaffa in Hebrew, but I missed.  Someone next to me poked and told me to get off.  Why did I miss it?  Because the announcement said “Yaffo,” not “Jaffa.”  On the map issued by the Israeli government (tourism), it clearly says Jaffa, but the street sign says Yaffo.

Light Rail

Light Rail

This is the light rail in Jerusalem New City.  Jerusalem New City just looks like any other American or European city.

And I also realised that even in the Old City, Jewish quarter is much more clean and modern than the other quarters such as Muslim or Armenian.  And it also has more sunlight while the other parts of the old city is quite covered and lacks sunlight.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Third Day – Jerusalem Walking Tour

Before I begin today, I want to add some of yesterday.  I sat next to a mother-daughter family from Switzerland in the sharing taxi to Jerusalem.  I thought that they were speaking German, so I asked them a few questions.  I confirmed that Switzerland has four official languages.  I learned that majority speaks German though.  The mother told me that their German is different from the German in Germany.  They both said that they can understand what Germans say, but Germans do not understand well what they say.  They learn German German at school.  The mother said that Switzerland has four different German dialects, and the daughter said that her teacher in the class taught that they have twelve different German dialects in their country.

So, I got up early in the morning.  I asked the lady in the hotel counter where the Lutheran church is.  She looked up the map a bit but could not find.  She just pointed the Christian quarter and said, “it should be somewhere around here.”  I found that Church in the map from the book which theology professor Dr. Cathey borrowed me.  The map was not the best detail, so I asked people on the street.

Empty Road in Old City Jerusalem

Empty Road in Old City Jerusalem

In the early in the morning, there was almost no one on the street.  The same street feels so different without people.  It is people that makes a place lively or dead, holy or defiled, peaceful or turmoil.

Sunday Service at Holy Sepulchre

Sunday Service at Holy Sepulchre

I went to the Holy Sepulchre first.  There was some Sunday service was on going.  I went inside the tomb place, and tried to stay a little while praying because there were not many people.  But clergyman in charge of there tapped the door and asked us to come out quickly.  I found the line got so long in just a few seconds.

Byzantine Cardo

Byzantine Cardo

I went to the Lutheran church of our Redeemer to find out that the service is at 9.  I had little more than an hour, so I walked to Jewish quarter.  The picture above is Cardo, Byzantine market place, and is market now too.

Jewish and Learning, the same word

Jewish and Learning, the same word

Across the Cardo, there is a centre (there are so many centres in the Jewish quarter), “Arie and Eva Halpern Centre for Jewish Life and Learning.”  One thing I like about Jewish is that they value the learning.  It looks like being Jewish means continuous lifetime learning.

LUtheran Church of our Redeemer

Lutheran Church of our Redeemer

Then I went to the Lutheran church.  About 25 people gathered.  This is the church that Ted and Paula Hiebert and their children attended for a year while they were living in Jerusalem.  The service was OK, not that different from Presbyterians.

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock

After the service, I went back to the Jewish quarter right away since nobody talked to me at the church.  This is the view of the Dome of the Rock, and we can see the Western wall below.

Ancient Wasabi Bowl?

Ancient Wasabi Bowl?

I went to the Burnt House Museum.  It is the excavated ruin of the house belong to Kathros family.  It is considered that the family is the priests.  The picture above is one of the founding in the house, and it looks like wasabi bowl in Japanese sushi restaurant.

Burnt House

Burnt House

Many things were found in the ruin including the cut bone of a girl’s arm and arrow-head.  I can just guess how the battle was when the city was destroyed.

In the burnt house I met two Korean girls.  One of them are working on M.Div at a full-gospel seminary (I forgot the school name).

Back on the street, I was looking at the street map, and a Palestinian old man came and he would show me things (he means guide, I guess).  I said, it is OK, and he said ‘just a few shekels, I will show you good things.’  I had only 16 shekels at that time.  So I showed it and he took it, then he said, “twenty-dollar more.”  And I realised that he is just a cheater, and said that I did not have any money.  Then he just left with my money, and I asked him my money back because he was not doing anything worth for the money.  He heard me and he ran so fast, disappeared.

About the money, I was not lying.  I actually had no money with me.  So I went to the nearby ATM.

Ritual Bath at Archaeological Museum

Ritual Bath at Archaeological Museum

I went to archaeological Museum, named “Herodia Quarter.”  It is very close to the burnt house, and this museum contains several houses all rich upper class Jewish people 2,000 years ago.

One thing unique about Jewish archaeology is that we find ritual bath wherever we go.  Some house has even multiple ritual bathrooms.  It looks like that ancient Jews only bathed without doing any other things.

Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!

Then I came out of the underground Museum (both Burnt house and Archaeological Museum are underground, and over the ground are normal building and shops), and ate lunch at Hallelujah, where the McCormick group also ate when we were visiting Jewish Quarter.  The burger was so huge!

Actually almost where I go, I can  recall my memory.  There are not many place that I have not yet been to.  The local tour guide George Filmon and the Guiding Star literally covered the most out of it.

Rampart Walk

Rampart Walk

Then I went to the Jaffa gate again, and began to walk down toward the south.  My plan was walk through the city wall.  Then I found the Ramparts Walk, and paid to enter.  The Ramparts walk led me on to the wall.  So I walked on the city wall.  It was so nice, and had great view.  I wondered why Guiding Star did not provide us this one.  But soon I realised that it is quite dangerous.  Unlike the picture above, most part of the walk is open one side, and the floor stones are worn and very slippery.  Even I did not run at all and walked as carefully as possible.  People who travelled with me would know what that means.  It is very high on the wall, and anyone who fears the height cannot walk there.  So I walked on the wall from near the Jaffa Gate to the Dung Gate.

Geopolitical location of Jerusalem - Archaeological Park

Geopolitical location of Jerusalem – Archaeological Park

Then I went to the Archaeological Park.  It is the down the wall near the dung gate.  It is said that it was the royal court and house of Muslim empires.  I found one good thing which shows the location of Jerusalem geographically and politically.  Israel and Jerusalem has been actually the connecting hub of the three continents.

Muslim Cemetary

Muslim cemetery

After the archaeological park, I kept walking through the streets, and I went to the Muslim cemetery right below the wall.  It was quite a walk, and then I met Lion’s Gate where McCormick group used to go to the Haram or Temple Mount.

Ecce Homo

Ecce Homo

I walked through the road and visited the points of Via Dolorosa again.  This is the Ecce Homo point.  People thought that Pontius Pilate said “Ecce Homo (Behold the man)” there.

I had two unpleasant experiences in the Muslim Quarter.  I guess they are Palestinian muslims because they were at the Muslim quarter.

The first thing:  Three young Palestinians were sitting side of the road, and when they saw me they asked if I am from Japan.  I said I am from Chicago, then a guy said with mocking voice “Ayy Am from Shee-Kay-go.”  Another guy also shouted at me, “Welcome to China!”  I did not respond further but kept walking.

The second thing:  A Palestinian young guy asked me, “Hey my friend, come to my shop.”  I gently said, “No thank you.”  Then he shouted “Chinese” twice and mimicked monkey sounds.  I also did not respond at all.

So I had three unpleasant experiences today with the Palestinians including the old man in the morning who ran with my 16 shekels, which is about $5.  There are many things to say about Jewish – Palestinian relationship, and I believe that the Palestinians must make (international) friends desperately, but they are turning possible friends into enemies.

Let me just do some simple calculation.  I met two groups (ignoring the old man because he did not do anything about racism), and let me suppose the two group meet so many Asians daily but mock them racially ten Asians.  And the two groups 3 in common everyday.  Then they together make seventeen Asians unpleasant and turn against them.  Seventeen a day is 6,205 a year.

They may have short fun time mocking others, but they are actually making more than six thousand Anti-Palestinians annually.  They should think what situation they have been in, and are in right now.

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