Hannah and Je together

Friday, 18 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Fifteenth Day – Back to Jerusalem

In the morning, we got on the mini-bus from the Kedma Village to Jerusalem.  I got off at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.

Jerusalem Central Bus Station

Jerusalem Central Bus Station

People were talking about the cloud, which is very weird to have the sky covered with clouds in this dry season.  I had a brunch with Dr. Choi at Aroma.

Gloria Hotel's View

Gloria Hotel’s View

Finally I came back to Gloria Hotel in the Old City Jerusalem near Jaffa Gate.  This is the view from my new room 151.  I stayed at 178 last week.  Then I turned on the TV set to update myself with the news of Israel-Gaza conflict because I spent a week without TV and with very limited internet.  But the more terrible and shocking news welcomed me – the airplane crash in Ukraine.  They did not really say almost anything about Israel-Gaza war.

After taking some rest, I went to the Tour Information to ask about the transportation to Tel Aviv tomorrow which is Shabbat.  But the information booth was closed at 1:30 because Shabbat begins this evening.

Empty Western Wall

Empty Western Wall

I wanted to the church of ascension, and went by the Western Wall.  While I was approaching the Western Wall, there were series of gun shooting sounds, and almost every was backed up.  And there were so many police cars and vans there.  You can notice that almost no body was at the wall praying, in comparison how it is packed with people especially Friday.  I asked someone what was happening, and was told that the muslims in the mosque are praying with shooting the guns with blank bullets.  But I’ve been in Western Wall a few Fridays, and heard nothing so far.  The orthodox Jew told me that they do not usually but when there is high tension, they do.

While the war is going on, and there are gun shooting noises, I found an airship in the sky.  And the city was as usual.

Pater Noster

Pater Noster

Before I went to the church of ascension, I went to the Pater Noster where Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer.  There are Lord’s Prayer in a few different languages.  This one looks like Hebrew, but it is Chaldean.  There was small admission fee of 8 NIS.

Church of Ascension

Church of Ascension

Then I went to the church of ascension, and was very disappointed.  Not like the title on the map, it was not a church but a mosque, very small mosque.  You have to pay 5 NIS, but almost nothing to see.  It is said that the foot print of Jesus when he ascended into heaven.

Tomb of the Prophets

Tomb of the Prophets

Then I went to the Tomb of the prophets, but was not able to enter because it was locked.  According to the Jewish tradition, it is the tomb of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Church of Mary Magdalene from Dominus Flevit

Church of Mary Magdalene from Dominus Flevit

Then I went to the Dominus Flevit.  It is Latin means “The Lord wept.”  And they found Second Temple Period and Byzantine tombs.  The above picture is the church of Mary Magdalene viewed from the Dominus Flevit.

When I came out of the Dominus Flevit, I saw a Palestinian old man begging.  He said, “I am poor.  Give me some shekels.”  So I gave him 14 NIS which was all the money I had then.  Then he said, “Give me more, give me more!”  And I told him that I do not have more.  Then he angrily said, “20 dollar more! I am poor! 20 dollar!”  I lost my words, and just walked down the hill.

Focaccia Salad

Focaccia Salad

I got some more rest, and went to Kikkar Zion (Zion Plaza) on Jaffa Street and Ben Yehudah Street to meet some people dug together at Tel Lachish.  I was worried because the Shabbat already begun and I see the whole city is stopped without any visible restaurants open.  They brought me to Focaccia Bar in the back street, and wow! The whole city is like divided into two, either synagogue or here.  We met Professor Yossi there too!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Eighth Day – Valleys of Jerusalem

Western Wall

Western Wall

Early in the morning (7am) I went to the Western Wall, the only remained part of the second temple where all the faithful Jews pray.  So many people were praying there.  Suddenly I was curious what all these people are praying for?  Are they praying for the death of their enemies?  Are they praying for the peace and reconciliation?

Kidron Valley

Kidron Valley

Then I went down to the Kidron Valley, which is also called as King’s valley.  Because there are many famous tombs.

Absalom's tomb

Absalom’s tomb

This is Absalom’s tomb, but the explanation says it has nothing to do with Absalom.  It was built 1,000 years after Absalom.  But when I read his name in Hebrew, it looks like “Father of Peace.”

Zechariah's tomb

Zechariah’s tomb

The Zechariah’s tomb was near the Absalom’s tomb, but I did not know this is the one.  So I was keep looking for it, using Google Maps and the GPS on my cell phone.

Gethsemane Church

Gethsemane Church

Gethsemane Church was just above the Kidron valley, the other side of Jerusalem Old City wall.  This is also the Mount of Olives.  If you know the geography there, you would know that the Mount of Olives is in the between the Temple and the Judean wilderness.  If Jesus wanted, He could have run away into the wilderness, which is unsearchable.  This means that Jesus willingly gave His life up.

Mary's Tomb Church

Mary’s Tomb Church

Mary’s tomb church is next to the Gethsemane church.  I do not know if this is genuine or not.  The church goes underground a lot.

Torah books in Jewish Cemetery

Torah books in Jewish Cemetery

As I wrote above, I was still looking for the Zechariah’s tomb using the GPS, and the GPS and Google Maps led me into the Jewish cemetery.  I did not doubt anything because Zechariah is a Jew.  One weird thing is that there are a lot of books of Torah in one entrance of the Jewish cemetery.

Women in Cemetery

Women in Cemetery

One of the entrances of the Jewish cemetery has this sign, meaning “Women.”  I do not know whether it is the Women’s entrance or the women’s burial section.  Why Orthodox Judaism and Islam discriminates women that much?  Well, Christian was the same and some Christian denominations are still the same, so what can I say against them?

Tomb of the sons of Hezir

Tomb of the sons of Hezir

The Google Maps led me into the middle of the cemetery, but there was nothing around but hundreds of normal modern tombs.  Then I gave up searching, and just decided to explore the Kidron valley more.  While I was walking, I saw a sign with the name of Zechariah’s tomb and its picture.  That was the one I saw in the beginning.  And the location is very different from Google Maps.  Near the Zechariah’s tomb, there was Tomb of the sons of Hezir.  I do not know who is Hezir, but it looks like his sons died before him.

Jehoshaphat's cave

Jehoshaphat’s cave

Then Next to the Absalom’s tomb, there was Jehoshaphat’s cave.  I wanted to explore in there, but it was blocked.  So I finished exploring the Kidron Valley

Old City streets on Palestinian shops

Old City streets on Palestinian shops

Then I walked back to hotel through the Jewish quarter (Jewish shops) and also Christian quarter (Palestinian shops).  As I wrote the other day, even when there is not many people, the two streets look different even the amount of sunlight too.  There are many reasons, but one of them is that Palestinians put the tents above their shop so that they put out their merchants on the streets which makes the street narrower while Jews keep their merchants only inside their shops consequently they do not need the tents and the road is wider.

Hinnom Valley

Hinnom Valley

I rested a little in the hotel, and went out to the other direction for the Hinnom Valley which comes out many times in the Bible.  Kidron Valley is east of the Temple (and city of David), while the Hinnom Valley is south side of the City of David.  This is where the ancient Israelites burnt their sons as the sacrifice to the other gods.  Hinnom Valley is very steep.

Hinnom and Kidron Valley Together

Hinnom and Kidron Valley Together

This is where the two famous valleys meet, south-eastern side of the Old City.

Music Centre on Hinnom Valley

Music Centre on Hinnom Valley

Unlike the bad fame of the Hinnom Valley, this is renovated as cultural centres and parks these days.

National Park on Hinnom Valley

National Park on Hinnom Valley

This is national park at the place of Hinnom Valley, and some people and kids were playing a game, which we have the same game in Korea.  It is nice to see that people are playing with the kids instead of burning them for gods.

National Park on Hinnom Valley

National Park on Hinnom Valley

The object in the centre of the picture, I thought we have similar thing in Chicago millennium park – the bean.  But when I went there, it was actually a metal globe.

Music in Mamilla

Music in Mamilla

Mamilla is next to the park, so I went there and found these young kids playing music.  And I went to a pharmacy to buy sunscreen.  My wife gave me SPF 70 sunscreen, so I wanted to buy the same one. But on the shelves, there were only SPF 30 and 50.  I asked a girl working at the sunscreen corner, she told me to ask the pharmacist.  So I asked the pharmacist, and she said that 50 is the highest.  So I took one, and on the way to the counter, I found SPF 70 sunscreen on the other aisle.

Mamilla Street

Mamilla Street

Walking on Mamilla street, I felt like I am in Chicago or other cities in America.  Then I thought king Herod built Caesarea and other romanised cities so that the romans feel like they are in Rome (or somewhere in Italy) to ease their home sick.  I do not have a home sick because I am here for tour, but the ancient Romans would have had bad one.

Kosher McDonald's

Kosher McDonald’s

Then I walked to the New City of Jerusalem through Jaffa street, King George street, Ben Yehuda street and so on.  And I found Kosher McDonald’s.  There are lots of Coffiz where you can get many kinds of drinks in 5 shekels, which is very cheap!

Bikes in City Hall

Bikes in City Hall

I also went to the City Hall of Jerusalem, and found these funny bikes.  These bikes do not move but operate something.  First one would operate the fan, the second one shows the speed, and the other one makes sounds.

Multi Effect Cinema

Multi Effect Cinema

I spent quite a time in the New City, then I went back all the way to the Jewish quarter.  There was a small cinema named “Multi Effect Cinema” playing “The story of Jerusalem.”  As the conclusion, it was waste of money, but I think it is worth trying once, not twice, because I found what this actually is.  They have wind, smoke, and 3D glasses.  But the chair moves too much unnecessarily which cause a little bit of sickness.

Empty Mamilla

Empty Mamilla

I had an appointment with George Filmon, the local tour guide for McCormick January tour.  We were supposed to meet at the Aroma in Mamilla.  When I went there, there was no one because it is Friday evening when the Shabbat begins, and all the stores are owned and operated by Jews.  It feels weird that the street is empty.  I could have lied with the picture above that all the people fled by the siren. 🙂

George and the Bible

George and the Bible, and me

George and I used to correspond through facebook, but before I left Chicago, I found that his facebook account was deactivated.  There was no way for me to contact him.  So when I came to Jerusalem, I called the tour company which the McCormick group used and asked his phone number.  And he answered.  So we made an appointment.  George and I went to Beit Sahour where Mara stays and studies, near Bethlehem.  Mara is doing well.  And I handed the CEB bible which Ted and Paula wanted me to deliver.

Moon over Jaffa Wall

Moon over Jaffa Wall

George gave me ride back to Jerusalem, and the temperature in Jerusalem at night is so nice.  This is actually nicest time of the day in Jerusalem.  And the moon was so bright and beautiful.

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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