Saturday, July 30, 2011

finally caught up. well, kinda.

so i finally caught up with the trip to galilee, but in the process, i managed to get behind on all of the more recent happenings here at the jc.
after getting back from galilee, we came to the BRUtal realization that the summer was almost over.
we don't like to talk about it much.

so it's crunch time!
in other terms, we are all suffering from a serious case of jclds... jerusalem center last-days-syndrome. and i don't think there is a cure.

our first free day back, we decided to go to ein karem. we had tried to plan this like three other times, and it never worked out. but we were determined to make it happen. unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot of information on how to get there. so, i knew what we were doing when we got there... but i'm not sure how happy dan was with my answer to his question of "so, you know how to get there?" ummm yeah! vaguely. 
but get us there i did.
and i made friends on the bus.

we got super lost, ended up in some russian church area (which we did actually want to see, we just didn't know that at the beginning), and then finally made it to the city of ein karem. we just managed to take a little detour in getting there first.

look at the little green picture.
it tells you how to get a concussion. 

that's ein karem. 
we wanted to get over there...
but we were stuck over here.

so we finally figured out the name of the russian-golden-dome-complex that we got completely lost in.

we came all the way to ein karem... the birthplace of john the baptist... to see
wooley mammoths?

the church of the visitation

we barely made it on time to get into the church of st. john... but the nice old monk finally took pity on us and let us run inside and see it... hallelujah!

this was a stone cave... which, like the church of the nativity in bethlehem, is the traditional site of the birth of john the baptist. 

a painting of the baptism of jesus christ

look familiar?

after ein karem, we went to the israel museum... we had four pages of items that we had to find. i usually hit my museum limit after about 2 hours... so by the end of 3 hours, i was loopy... by the end of 4 - i just wanted to sit down on the ground and go to sleep. just carry me home mommy.

i still don't know the purpose of this giant apple core.
but it's cool anyway.
and you gotta have pics with cool things.

the next day was a field trip day! woohoo! (but man oh man... it is getting hot outside!) we have this new plan: huddle in the shade, walk out into the blazing hot sun to take pictures, go back into the shade and listen to the amazing brother mulestein enlighten our understandings.
we went to the burnt house (a house that belonged to a sadduceean priestly family right before the destruction of the 2nd temple in 70 ad)
herodian ashlars. just so you can get a sense of the size of these babies. 

the double gate of the temple. according to jewish law, you would go in the triple gate and out the double gate, except in times of mourning, when you would go the opposite direction.

a miqva.
(a ritual cleansing pool)
the unclean people would go down on the right hand side, and wash themselves, and then come up the left hand side. notice which side i'm on?

this is rubble from when the roman soldiers destroyed the temple walls.
most of it was removed, but the excavators left some of it so that we could see what it looked like before. 

this was the stone where the trumpeter would have stood. 
it is also possibly the "pinnacle of the temple" to which jesus was taken and told to throw himself down onto the street below. 

we all fall down!

i think i'm doing some kind of thriller or lady gaga impersonation.

ariel and i casting the sellers out of the temple.

they look pretty terrified huh?
we are pretty scary.

today, it got to 39 degrees. that's in celcius. basically, anything around 40 is do-not-leave-the-house-because-you-will-melt-like-a-wax-candle-weather... you wanna know what that is in fahrenheit? that's 102 DEGREES! and guess what's even more exciting - we get go to MASADA tomorrow.
talk about wrath of hades.
it's gonna be hottt.

Galilee: Day 11

July 21

The last day! :(
This was the part of the trip that I was most excited for wayyyy back in April, mostly because I never ever EVER thought we would actually get here! Now that the last 10 days have zipped by (and I can barely remember what all happened now… good thing I’m writing it all down!) I realize how close this trip is getting to being over. And packing up to go back home was really difficult.
I packed my bags, and I felt like I didn’t pack this much stuff on the way over… but my bags seemed fuller leaving here than they did when we left the JC. And I didn’t buy anything. Hmmm…
If you remember way back to the first day… when we came up the Jordan Rift valley? This time we went back to Jerusalem by way of the coast. The first stop was at Mt. Carmel, where Elijah had his face-off with the 500-some-odd priests of Baal. There wasn’t a lot there, but the church was really sweet, and we had a lot of fun singing inside. They also had a statue of Elijah standing on top of one of the priests of Baal. Happy statue.

But the story behind the site is what really mattered. I really admire Elijah for his ability to stand tall and keep his integrity no matter how many people were standing on the other side, telling him that what he believed in was wrong. But he knew what he was standing for, and he didn’t need anyone to convince him otherwise. And his faith paid off.
On our way through Haifa, we stopped and got out to look at the botanical gardens. They are a memorial for somethin… I just can’t remember what it was. (And I’m not gonna go Wikipedia it. No fair cheating!) Then we went to the Haifa Templer Cemetery, where the first members of the church and the first permanent missionaries to Israel were buried. Both of the missionaries died while they were serving their missions – on top of their headstones were broken pillars, which represent a life cut short.

the missionaries names were John Clark and Adolf Haag

Our last stop of the day (but by far the longest stop) was Caesarea. This is the Caesarea mentioned in the New Testament (with the single exception of Caesarea Philippi, which is in the upper Galilee area). This was a huge port city built by Herod the Great. He built his own walls out into the ocean to create a port big enough for his purposes. During his rule, this was his capital before Tiberias was finished. The city was huge – it had 2 hippodromes, a theater, a port, and an aqueduct that came all the way from Mt. Carmel (where we had been earlier in the day!)

the hippodrome. where they race hippos.
yes, we did have to clarify that one.


the aqueduct that came all the way from mt. carmel

the outside of the harbor that king herod built

the grass was where ships would have pulled in, and the arches were storage areas to put the cargo unloaded from ships. this would have been the last view paul would have seen as he sailed to rome. 

One of the most interesting parts for me was seeing Herod’s palace there – Paul most definitely was here. When he appealed to be judged of Caesar, he was here before they sent him on to Rome, where he was ultimately killed. It was interesting to be here, because he have followed Paul from the beginning to the end of his ministry. When we went to Turkey at the beginning of the summer (wayyyy back in May! Yikes!) we got to see the places that he went on his three missions, because most of them went into Asia Minor. Then we got to see the last place that he would have seen before he left to go to Rome. We even stood where the ships would have taken off, and looked up at where the ancient temple would have been. 

well that's that! 

we got back to jerusalem all safe and sound, and ready for a midterm in new testament the very next day! 
shoot me please?

(but we all know i survived to write this post...)

Galilee: Day 10

July 20

Western Galilee! The first place that we went was to Chorizin – one of the three cities in the ecclesiastical triangle. (These three cities were woe’d by Christ in the New Testament… an interesting thing is that most of the other cities in the New Testament have a current city still there today… except for those three. Just a little food for thought.)
While at Chorizin, we saw a first century house, which had beams. Sound familiar? They didn’t built houses with wood here. They still don’t. So the “beam” that is in your eye, would have been a big stone block. Megan will demonstrate.

We also saw the synagogue at Chorizin, and the “seat of Moses,” where the person with the authority to interpret scripture would have sat. This one was fake. But I did see the real one. It’s in the Israel museum. (That’s pretty much the answer to anything. “It’s not the real one. That one is in the Israel museum…” If I had a shekel for every time I heard that this semester… I could probably buy myself a olive wood nativity. And maybe a falafel. Yum.

dr. jones reporting for duty!

After Chorizin, we scooted on over to Sepphoris. This is a city that would have been a highly affluent area, and a big center of industry. When Christ was growing up, and working (either as a carpenter or a stonemason… whatever you decide to believe in), he most likely would have come here to look for work. That was a pretty neat thought.

wayna and me by a first-century manger!
sorry to break it to you... but mangers aren't made of wood. 
nothing is made of wood here...

the mosaic carpet in the synagogue

We saw a lot of mosaic carpets in Sepphoris too. It was the “in thing” to have mosaics for floors. I just couldn’t help but remembering tiling the kitchen back at home… and that was with 5x5 inch tiles. And that was annoying. I can’t imagine doing that with different colored tiles that are smaller than my fingernail! They were gorgeous though. No question about that.
Which leads us to our next stop! We got to see the “Mona Lisa of the Galilee” – a mosaic carpet that was in the dining room of a house. You could actually see that they had the outline of the triclinium table arrangement. The last supper most likely would have taken place in a dinner setting like this. The best part about this  floor was the Mona Lisa.

you would think that we would get bored of seeing water systems... never! just like we nevvvvvvvver get sick of seeing tells... :o)
oh swell! another tell! 

Today we only had 3 stops, but they were pretty spread out, and each one was pretty time consuming. Don’t get me wrong… after yesterday, time on the bus is a good thing. Our final stop was at Akko (or Acre… pronounced like acre. You don’t have to get excited and say anything like ah-cray or something crazy like that. Just acre.)
Acre is one of the best preserved crusader cities. Why? Someone wanted to build up the city, so they just filled in the old crusader buildings with dirt and built right on top of it. Which preserved it very well for archeologists today. I think that most archeologists wish all ancient people were this thoughtful. It would make digging stuff up a lot easier.

the best picture of the whole stop.
kerri, lizzie, me, becca, deidra, and niffer... it's pretty urgent.

We had one last firebon tonight – we even heard the legend of Falling Rock. It wasn't this exact one... but it was fairly similar. Only Dallin didn't just fall to the ground. He cannonballed onto the sand... ouch?

Galilee: Day 9

July 19

Today was BRUtal! (Whenever I hear this word, I will forever think of dear Bashir - our Palestine teacher... who would say it broo-tal! with particular emphasis on the first syllable...) But, it was one of my favorite days! We got two buses, so both classes were going on the field trips together… I was starting to feel like I hadn’t seen any of them in weeks… not just days. We got to see the other six-chambered Solomonic gate today at Hazor, and there were several excavations that were going on while we were there. 

a casemate wall around hazor

One of them was just above a temple that they found at Hazor a few years ago. Today’s field trip was most of the far northern sites in Galilee (we made it up as far as the Syrian border). Hazor was one of the very first cities to fall with the Assyrian invasion and when the Israelites were carried away captive and scattered.
After Hazor, we went to Tell Dan. And lucky for us, we have ancient Dan in our group. 

Dan is one of the headwaters for the Jordan River, and we got to see where the water seems to come nowhere… when it actually is part of a carst system (where snow melts and seeps down through the rock and ends up in fissures, where it comes out from underground in places like this). 
the camera focused on the water... not on me...

the water just appeared out of these rocks...

It was gorgeous – I didn’t realize how much I missed the color green! And forests… I think that I am going to need to do some serious needling when I get home to go camping. (Conspicuous voice – “Mommy? I was wondering something…”)
Tell Dan was huge… in the Bible, it talks about Jeroboam and how he set up “high places” at Dan and Bethel. We got to see the high place. 
a replica of the approximate size of the altar and the high place (on the right) that would have been set up by jeroboam. 

And we got to worship Dan’s not-so-golden calf.

From the high place, we could see the “green line” that used to separate Israel from Lebanon. There isn’t much to see now, but that used to be a major area of fighting. We even got to walk through some bunkers.
There was also an ancient Canaanite gate (which, if it was the main gate into the city, we can be fairly sure that Abraham would have gone through that gate when he went to Dan to rescue Lot.) I would have liked a little shade too…
Our next stop was Banias, or better known as Caesarea Philippi in the New Testament. The evolution of the name was interesting. There used to be a temple to the god Pan there, which is also Panias… but there is no “p” in Arabic, so they call it Banias. With a “b”. I think everyone should just speak English. It would make everything so much simpler. ;)

it felt so nice to dip our feet in the water after a scorching hot day!

Banias is another one of the headwaters for the Jordan River, but it is also where the apostle Peter recognized Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Son of God.
I hope the pictures give you even a tiny sense of the beauty of this place.

We left Caesarea Philippi, and went to the Banias waterfall. Not really that historically significant, but it was still gorgeous.

Our next stop had absolutely no Biblical significance, but we had to storm at least one castle during this trip! I don’t think I can really sum up in words how awesome that was. We warmed up our charging voices by practicing battle cries, and then we received a rousing speech from our fearless leader, General Mulestein. (It sounded almost exactly like the one from Lord of the Rings… oh wait, it was!)

Sons of Gondor, of Rohan. My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come, when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of Fellowship, but it is not this day! An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you, stand, men of the West!

overlooking Nimrod's castle

After storming the castle, we were let loose to pillage and plunder to our little heart’s content.

niffer, ariel, jarom, me, lizzie, meg, wayna, justin, canton, jarret, ashley and jacey (starting at left and circling back)

are you surprise at my outfit?

Some of us even gotten into fights amongst ourselves.

We ended the day by going to an overlook from which you could see what used to be Syrian lands on Mt. Bental. In more modern history, this place is important because you could see the ruins of Quneitra, that used to be a city, but is now just a bunch of empty cement buildings.

hiding in the bunkers


Biblically important is that this is the ancient road to Damascus.

nobody's getting past this angel.

this was at one point used for a gunner...
i think it just looks like something out of star wars.


oh wait.

we might have gotten a little bit bored at dinner...

After dinner, we were able to talk to a woman that is a member of the Ein Gev kibbutz. It was a very interesting a enlightening experience, because she explained the origins of the kibbutz as a totally communal effort, and how it has changed in recent years. She had been living there for 30 years, and had raised all of her children there. She told us that during the beginning years of the kibbutz, they had an extremely difficult time, because they were trying to use their previous knowledge and experience to live in a new land. Most of them were immigrants that were coming from European countries, where they would grow things like potatoes… and potatoes don’t grow well in Galilee. Now, the kibbutz has huge banana (orchards? fields? …whatever…), a restaurant, and a hotel among other things. They used to share all jobs equally, but in recent years, with the mechanization of many jobs, they have needed to specially train people for specific jobs. The woman that we talked to worked specifically with the hotel, but she had also worked in the children’s kitchen at the kibbutz, as well just about every job possible within the hotel.

After that discussion, we had a firebon. (Our lovely hosts at the hotel didn’t quite understand the concept of a bon…fire... and we thought it was so cute that we didn’t really feel like correcting them.) I have never loved a s’more so much in my entire life. And I think that the European chocolate made everything better. Mmmmm…