Hannah and Je together

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.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Another Half of Second Day – Arrival

The flight from Zürich to Tel Aviv was good.  I still had emergency exit seat with enough legroom.  I had playful and delightful twin babies.  There were a few babies crying in the plane, but everybody around me was normal – no kissing, no drinking, no loud talking.

Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel

Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel

Finally I landed at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport.  The immigration lines were long.  I guess this is because of recent violences in Jerusalem.  The officers were asking so many questions to people, including when and where they are planned to stay.  After long wait, I went to the officer.  I told him that I am taking summer course at Hebrew University and I am from America.  He just checked my passport and flight ticket, and let me go without asking any other questions.

Bathroom Sign in Ben Gurion Airport

Bathroom Sign in Ben Gurion Airport

This is bathroom sign in Ben Gurion airport.  It looks normal, but I think the Hebrew writing is funny.  Women in Hebrew is Women, but Men in Hebrew language says Warrior.

There are two ATMs in the airport, and one of them was broken, which caused huge line formed.  But six people in a row failed to draw money, and they said, “it’s not working.”  Instantly the line disappeared, but I decided to try, and it worked.  I’ve got my money.  And again, the huge line formed instantly after me.

Shuttle or Shared Taxi

Shuttle or Shared Taxi

My actual plan was to ride a taxi to Jerusalem.  I have to ride taxi when I come back to this airport because that would be around midnight.  But now, it is bright daylight, not even 4pm.  I thought there must be cheaper transportation to Jerusalem.  And I found a shuttle or shared taxi.  It costed me 64 NIS (New Israeli Shekel), roughly less than $25.

City Wall near Jaffa Gate

City Wall near Jaffa Gate

This is the city wall near the Jaffa Gate.  But I could not find my hotel easily, so I asked the security soldier with machine guns.  They pointed with fingers, “there.”  And they pointed another place, “or maybe there.”  Nice.  Thank you for being playful with a tourist.  You guys are very entertaining.  Then I found an information booth, so I went in and was guided.  It was really close.  Oh I miss Google Maps. And my wife more.

Glorious Gloria Hotel

Glorious Gloria Hotel

My original booking was Knights’ Palace around New Gate (still in Old City), but they emailed me two weeks ago, saying they will maintenance shut down the Knights’ Palace, and would like to move me to Gloria Hotel since they have same staff, same service and same owner.

After I unpacked, I just walked in the old city.  Today is Sabbath, so when I was in the Taxi, the West Jerusalem looked like a dead city with nobody on the streets.  But in the city market, so many people walking and living.  I just walked without any plan, destination.  I just walked just to be lost in the market.  But I was not lost.  When I looked around after a walk for a while, I found myself outside the Damascus gate where the White Sister’s Guest house is.  My McCormick travel group stayed there, and we walked always through this gate to go back to the guesthouse.  I think I just remembered the way to the guesthouse.

Then I bought some postcards with international stamps.  They are not cheap at all!  After supper at the Gloria Hotel, now I am dying of fatigue or Jet lag.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Israel Trip Third Day: Jerusalem Old City

The guesthouse is in Palestinian neighbourhood where Arabic is commonly spoken. And it is obviously noticeable for the signs too.

Signs in Arabic

Signs in Arabic

From the guest house, we walked to the Jerusalem Old City through Damascus Gate.

Damascus Gate - one of the major access to Old City Jerusalem

Damascus Gate – one of the major access to Old City Jerusalem

This gate is called in Arabic as Bab Al-Amud which means Pillar Gate. There used to be two pillars by Hadrian and people still used that name even though the pillar is not there for more than thousand years. But you can see the mark where the pillars were in the Old City right after the gate.

Pillar Mark

Pillar Mark

We walked straight to the Western Wall, namely Wailing Wall. It shows a few different era’s construction with the Herodian wall at the bottom. And we went to Western Wall Heritage Centre where we saw some of the historical and architectural information in visual way.

Temple Mount and Temple model

Temple Mount and Temple model

Herod’s temple is much more bigger than the previous ones even way bigger than that of Solomon. Because the land was not level, Herod made the south side much higher to make the temple mount level, and both corner on the south side is called Pinnacle and the horn was blown for many reasons. At the north end, Herod used the natural bed rock as part of the temple mount.

Herod's Frame

Herod’s Frame

This pattern is Herod’s distinctive frame pattern. If you see the picture below, that is just little part of the one rock. They are all huge and giant. The average weight of those stones is 5 ton.

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Huge Stone

As we all know, this glorious Herod’s temple was destroyed by Romans A.D. 70, and some of the destroyed parts are still preserved:

Destruction of the Temple by Romans

Destruction of the Temple by Romans

We were walking under the centre ramp (see the temple model above), and we came out to the open field at Herod’s time but it is still covered because the houses were built after that over those areas. And we met two pillars by Herod.

Herodian Pillar

Herodian Pillar

And on the floor of the same level with the pillar, there are stone-pavement from the same time. In other words, Jesus may walked on those stones.

Pavement from the Jesus' contemporary.

Pavement from the Jesus’ contemporary

And then we kept walking through the water channel/tunnel and to a water basin.

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This was built at Hasmonian Dynasty which means it is even before Romans came to Israel. This water tank was used for more than thousands of years. One thing is that nobody knows where the water comes from and how it collects waters.

St. Anne's Chapel

St. Anne’s Chapel

We went to St. Anne’s Chapel by the White Fathers. White fathers is the missionary group and the father in charge of this site is from Canada. More than 80% of the members are from Africa, so the white is colour of the robe not the skin. Once they tried to rename, but almost all the black members voted against it.

This chapel has amazing acoustic design.  A few of the McCormick group sang ‘Amazing Grace,’ and it echoed like a band of angels was singing together.

Birthplace of Mary

Birthplace of Mary

St. Anne’s Chapel is dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of Mary. So she is grandmother of Jesus. Catholics believe that mother Mary was born here while Anne was living.

Crusader's Chapel

Crusader’s Chapel

Next to the St. Anne’s chapel, there is huge ruin. It is the ruin of many different things – Hadrian’s pagan temple, Byzantine, Crusaders … You can see the crusader’s cross on the bottom of the pillar.

Pool of Bethesda

Pool of Bethesda

And the ruin also has a pool named Bethesda, where Jesus is believed that he healed the sick on Sabbath day.

Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa

Now, it is time to talk about the Via Dolorosa, the most famous Christian pilgrimage.

Church of Condemnation

Church of Condemnation

The Church of Condemnation is at the original place (as believed) where Pontius Pilate and his army stayed, namely Antonia Fortress.

Game board

Game board

On the floor, there is a mark – the play of the soldiers. According to the guide, the mark was drawn around Jesus’ contemporary.

Church of Flagellation

Church of Flagellation

It is believed that Jesus was whipped at the Church of Flagellation. And you can see the patterns of nails, whips. Above the gate, you may identify the thorns.

Ecce Homo Church

Ecce Homo Church

Ecce Homo means “Behold this man,” which Pontius Pilate said to the people. There is huge arch in and out side of the church. But the scholars believe now that the arch was built at Hadrian after Jesus.

Jesus fell first time

Jesus fell first time

Via Dolorosa identifies three locations that Jesus fell, and this is the first one.

Jesus met mother

Jesus met mother

Right next to the first falling location, this point is believed that Jesus met His mother Mary.

Simon of Cyrene

Simon of Cyrene

This place is believed that Simon of Cyrene was forced by the Roman soldiers to carry the cross of Jesus. There are a few more scenes in the Via Dolorosa such as Jesus meeting pious women. Via Dolorosa may correct but may not correct since different churches claim different spots, and different scholars says different things. We do not know any thing for sure. But what is important is not to identify historical accurate locations but to feel it and add it to our faith.

Holy Sepulchre

Holy Sepulchre

After that, we went to the Holy Sepulchre though the Coptic Church. In  the Holy Sepulchre, there was no line and our guide said it was miracle. Only two or three can fit in, and I went in with another lady, and she cried a lot over the casket. I just wonder if I had to tell her that the casket is empty and Jesus is alive.

The Holy Sepulchre is so-called the holiest place for Christians. And several different churches owns different parts of it. There are serious dispute between them, so two Muslim families open it in the morning and close it in the evening. What a shame.

Adam's Tomb

Adam’s Tomb

Some Church says that Adam is buried here. It is very important to their theology. The rock over the glasses is the rock of Calvary.

Broken Stone

Broken Stone

The rock seen over the window is Rock of Calvary. It is broken into two. Because when Jesus died, there was earthquake, and the rock was broken into two.

Calvary Rock

Calvary Rock

This is actually on the Calvary. Still you can see the huge crack. There are a few more things to see including Anointing Rock. We went out to the Jewish neighbourhood.

Manora

Manora

This giant manora is not the only one telling you that you are in Jewish quarter. So many males are wearing black hats and dressed like Jewish.

Golden Dome

Golden Dome

That golden dome, so called Dome of Rock, is the most famous thing in Jerusalem. And you can see the western wall under it. Tonight is the beginning of Sabbath, and many Jewish people came to pray here.

Western Wall

Western Wall

This is very sentimental place for all Jewish. The women are not allowed to pray with men. They have their own section. And all men must cover their head. The wall is continued inside to the left side when you face it. And there is a library with all Hebrew pray books.

Skull rock

Skull rock

Then we went to Garden Tomb. It is based on the bible (of course) with the name of Golgotha whose meaning is skull. And the rock is very similar to the skull shape (the mouth piece is hidden by the reconstruction).

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The first and third picture is the entrance of the tomb and the middle one is inside of it. For the last picture, you can see the rail for the rock to roll which covers the tomb. Some scholars think the Holy Sepulchre is where Jesus was crucified, others think Garden tomb is the place. Again, we do not know for sure. But I do know that the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive.

Segregation

Segregation

This is the separation of Jerusalem. One city, one Jerusalem but one side is Jewish part, the other is West Bank, the occupied land. Jerusalem means peace. When can we really have true peace in Jerusalem?

We went to Sabeel, and listened to Cedar, one of the founding member of Sabeel. It was eye opening. I want to write about it later in more detail. If I do not go to bed right now, I may die.

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