Overview of the first day of touring

Just sitting here by the pool, relaxing before our waking tour of the Christian quarter this morning. We don’t have our tour bus today because it’s Shabbat. But it is bright and sunny, and walking will not be a problem. I kind of admire how the whole city comes to a halt once a week. In he US we can’t even manage to keep our stores closed for the full 24 hours of Thanksgiving.

We started off yesterday returning to the Haas Promenade to see the view in daylight. I have to say, the view was much more impressive than at night. We then made our way to the Jewish Quarter. Our first stop was the rededicated Hurva Synagogue. The story that stuck with me the most was that the ark came from (I think) Lithuania, was broken up into something like 18 pieces and after arriving in Jaffa was delivered to Jerusalem on the back of an animal (donkey? Camel?). There were lots of stories. Missed a few details.

We made our way to the Western Wall via the underground tunnels. At one point they held water for the houses built above them. Some pretty impressive architecture. Also kind of funny to watch a video on a flat screen in the middle of these ancient tunnels.

The wall itself is an interesting place. Not quite sure what my impression is. Actually went there twice yesterday. We returned to see what it was like as Shabbat started.

Before Shabbat, though, we got some shopping in. There was a sign outside one of the stores that was entirely in Russian. I’m not sure why I’m surprised, I know there are a lot of Russian immigrants. Fun to be able to read it.

Our dinner was with the first female rabbi ordained in Israel and her husband. They have names, but again, details.

After breakfast this morning I swam 1500 meters in the outdoor pool. I need to do more of this in November.

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First day touring

It really is a beautiful place

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With many more years of history than in the United States

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Looking through a window down to an ancient mikvah, excavated by the Western Wall

And Russian to practice!

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Off to see what happens at the Western Wall for Shabbat…

It’s the middle of the night…

“Why are you here,” asked the woman at Passport Control. I gave her the short answer (the longer answer can be found in a few of my previous posts, which I can’t easily figure out how to link to with this app). She was asking for security reasons, but in terms of why I am in Israel, it is a pretty good philosophical question. “Because I was invited” doesn’t seem like the best answer. Nor does “because everyone told me I’d love it and have a great time.” As I write this at some dark hour, the answer seems to be, “because who doesn’t love jet lag?”

In all seriousness, I’m not sure I really have an answer. So if you continue to read this blog, you will probably find out along with me. There are a few things I am certain of, though. While I do want to keep in touch with everyone back home, and I do want to take pictures, write personal journal and blog entries, I also know from previous experience that I don’t want to spend too much time tied to my technology. Screens take away from the experience.

Now it’s time to try sleeping again…