Thursday, August 18, 2011

Israel Part II

Our journey outside of Jerusalem began in the absolute north end of the country and standing on Mount Tabor at the north end of the Jezereel Valley we can see Syria on the east and Lebanon on the west. We are squeezed between those two hostile neighbors where the Golan Heights is a launching site for Syrian rockets onto Israelic Kibitzeem in the entire area.
I just found a shot of our transportation for the huge Turkish Air with great food. Itinerary worked out by Jame:  L.A. - Istanbul - Tel Aviv - Istanbul - Chicago leg of the trip. This photo of our plane should been at the beginningof my last blog. Oh well.

Mount Tabor above is the site of that greatly important event when the Savior took Peter, James and John to this mount, Jesus was transfigured, the voice of the Lord acknowledged that "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Then came  Old Testament prophets Moses and Elijah who gave their priesthood keys to the leaders of the dispensation of the meridian of time. Look carefully at the top and you can barely make out the Franciscan Monastery . Get ready for an exciting ride to the monastery!

Many switchbacks will give you an idea about how steep the road was. . .and narrow.

We had to leave our bus in a small distinctly Arabic town at the foot of Mount Tabor. This village was Israeli and a citizenbove who has driven a small bus to the top for 40 years. He smiled when I took his picture said, "that will be one dollar." I think is was worth the price.


This area has had a church or a fort (Crusaders) of some kind since early AD

             The monastery was surrounded by beautifully tended grounds

          How about the famous Transfiguration painting by Carraccio                      
           in the chapel and one of several beautiful mosiacs?



A few miles to the south we visitd the area about where the Sermon on the Mount was delivered. The usual beautiful Cathedral was there, of course.

We sat on the grass below the cathedral and reread the Sermon with the view of Galilee above.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jerusalem, How oft

Well, it was a real heart tugger but I did cut down on the number of my Jerusalem old city pictures. News break: Our missionaries, Sister Diana and Elder Lee Freeman arrived home yesterday after serving so well in Hawaii Honolulu Mission. Welcome Home. 

We were met at the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport by our enthusiastic and lovely Russian Jew guide who had a car at the curb ready to take us to our Ramat Rachel hotel in Jerusalem a one hour journey. The scenery has changed drastically since my visit in 1973. The desert has blossomed like a rose. . .date palm and other orchards, flowering bushes on both sides of the beautiful highway.

 We arrived at  the hotel 5pm, dropped our luggage, found a taxi and headed directly to the Old City and wandered the warren of tangled streets until late in the evening. We entered through the Jaffa Gate.    Want to see what we saw?

We are in Jerusalem for sure at the beginning of

 The vendors were very much like the Bazaar in Istanbul. The had wares drapped on the front of walls and occasionally there were small shops filled with EVERYTHING!

At every corner there were lovely arches and stairways which made for attractive pictures without much effort on the part of the photographer.

 The Church of the Holy Sepulcure is considered to be the actual site of the crucifixion and burial of the Savior by many major churches including Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox. The church is administered by six churches with not
                                       much  Christian love between them.

Roman Catholic mass before the place believed to have been the tomb. Worshippers were invited one or two at a time into the small burial room directly behind the large
                                                    fascade above.

                                          Another view of the Mass.

This is believed to the unction stone upon which the body of the Savior was cleansed and then received the oil and the wrapping in linen bands before burial. We watched the women wipe the stone with different pieces of cloth I suppose these were kept as
                                               carriers of special blesssings.

Two interesting faces of Greek Orthodoxy

                                                We passed on this one.

                        Many such groups were intensly engaged in something.


I was interested in the floors with  these stone slabs which we saw later were used   
                        to push wheeled wagons loaded with all sorts of goods.
                           We caught a glimpse of a Minneret and the Dome of the Mount     
                                            which I layered with a telephoto lens.

                 And this was the gorgeous skyline view of Jerusalem from our Sacrament
                  service at Shabbat Saturday morning in the Jerusalem Center


The very attractive Jerusalem Center sprawls across the top of Mount Scopus.


Above is a telephone pix of Dome of the Mount from Jerusalem Center


Guide Steven Rona and John on Sunday morning have the Dome to themselves.
Interesting history and religious significance at this place ie Abraham's sacrifice
of Isaac, Mohammed went to heaven from the rock inside the Dome 

                                  Beautiful tile work on the outside. The Third Temple on
                       this spot will send out the law to all the world according to the Jews.
(Mormons as well?)

I like this shot framed by the palm tree and the wall
on the right.

A fact of life is the ever presence of the military.

Way of Sorrow taken by Jesus bearing his cross. This is the
fifth station where Simon the Cyrene took the cross. 

Wailing or Western Wall remains of the Second Temple
which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD is the
most sacred spot of worship to the Jews

                               We joined a large family group to help celebrate a
                      Bar Mitzvah entrance into manhood for a 13-year-old Jewish boy.

                                        The ritual shofar or ram's horn

Reading from the Torah as part of the ceremony

                                        Chests which hold the holy Torah

  John and I wrote our prayer for world peace etc. and
 placed it in acrack between the blocks of stone.

St David's Tower

                                    Arab and Jewish children are beautiful