Caesarea

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2014-03-24 08.28.15After traveling west for quite some time, Isabel and Henry discovered a dirt path and decided to stray from the ordained road. This hardly treaded trail was overgrown with weed-like daisies and lead the pair uphill, with great uncertainty of what laid beyond its peak.

Filled with eagerness, Isabel proclaimed, “I wonder what lays over yonder!”

“Over yonder? Let us seek!” Henry pointed in their intended direction with much fervor.

Adding swiftness to their step, they finally reached the edge. Their eyes glistened with the cool reflection of the coast in close distance. It could have been any ordinary beach, with soft sand fading to seemingly never-ending blue waters. But with a sharp look to the right, the two scraggily adventurers set out for the extraordinary.

As they peered along the coast, they were unable to see the end to the extensive layers of stones that lined the length of this particular beach. 2014-03-24 09.10.29The innumerable rocks formed many massive arches, and the two travelers were mighty curious about the purpose of this construction. Isabel haphazardly climbed the lower level of the stones.

“Oi!” A misshaped rock scraped her thigh on her way up. “Tread carefully, but join me Henry!”

He obediently followed her. They now stood beneath an arch that was only a little taller than 2014-03-24 09.17.30them. Raising their arms, they tried with all their might to lift the structure, but to no avail.

“If we cannot lift it, we must climb atop it!” Henry was determined to conquer the mysterious.

“Agreed! But how?”

“Hm, it seems there’re sand dunes parallel to it. Perhaps, if we walk along them, the sand will eventually be high enough to give us the necessary boost!”

“Onward!”

And so the two charged across the plush piles of sand, with each of their strides leaving footsteps in the fine grain earth beneath them. They stumbled upon a footstool.

“It seems as though we are not the first who wished to know what lay upon this edifice,” Henry said with dismay.

“Maybe so, but our predecessors have marked the perfect spot for us to ascend!” Isabel was consistently an optimist.

With one step, Henry accidentally crushed the footstool into the impressionable dune, while Isabel tried to silence her laughter. However, the two were still able to cautiously grab onto the stones and successfully make it to the top. 2014-03-24 09.34.45They stood up slowly and were suddenly overlooking an outstanding portion of the Mediterranean Sea.

To interrupt their pure awe, Henry abruptly whispered, “See there! A patrol!”

Isabel was injected with anxiety and knew not what to do. They stood there, conspicuous and dumbfounded. Fortunately, the patrol passed them, and they were somehow unnoticed.

They began to walk along the uneven roof, noting a diverted basin to one side, only to speculate this might have been an aqueduct.2014-03-24 09.41.51 Being satisfied with their discovery, they descended from the aqueduct and started trekking southbound along the coast.

The sun had grown beamingly hot. To Isabel’s protest, Henry removed his tunic to reveal his repulsively hair torso and ventilate his sweltering body. After walking a couple kilometers, they encountered a colossal slanted wall that seemed to encompass an entire city. 2014-03-24 10.51.09This defensive wall was mounted on the opposite side of a moat. Grinning, Isabel spotted a bridge and she dragged Henry to cross it. With their poor eyesight, they missed a sign that read, “City of Caesarea. Guard on Duty. No beach entrance at penalty of death.”

From above, the two vagabonds heard, “Hark! Who goes there?” A guard intimidatingly interrogated.

“It is I, Sir Henry of Haifa!” Isabel stared at the ground, silently.

“What is your business here?” The guard was incredibly displeased.

“To conquer this land and discover all that lays within it. Have you a problem with my conquest?”

“Indeed I do! It is my duty to execute you now.”

“You may only try!” Henry discretely retrieved his pocket sword and quickly approached the stairs that led to the guard. The guard drew his long shining sword and retreated to the edge of the wall, leaving himself only a narrow passageway to balance. Below, Isabel cringed at the clangs that had begun, truly wishing her companion had not been so proud.

“AHA!” It was Henry’s voice. Isabel slowly tilted her head upward, to see Henry’s foot victoriously placed on the chest of the guard. With steadiness and power, Henry kicked the guard off the wall and into the moat.2014-03-24 10.56.58

“Isabel,” Henry beckoned, “Scale these stairs and join me as the new guards of the city.”

When she reached him, he grunted, “We are watchmen!”

She echoed his tone, “We are watchmen!”

They said in unison, “WE ARE WATCHMEN!”

 

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Eilat of Hiking

Gallery

Chaifa Tour Pt. 2

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Nesher, the city of the eagle.2014-02-10 15.16.43 The university took us to an ecological park. The park was formed to protect the nature and prevent people from building the city there. קקל :קרן קיימת לישראל bought the land in the 20/30s and in 2004 the bridges were built for attraction and to preserve the park. It was an awesome experience to be able to cross these suspension bridges, knowing the thriving green land they hang 2014-02-10 14.58.59
over would not 2014-02-11 10.48.47be there if it were not fo2014-02-10 15.14.47r this park. Remarkably, you could see the International School building from above. (Earlier we had spotted the bridges below us, looking down from our university’s view). It was also just a lot of fun, even though I wasn’t nearly substantial enough to shake the bridge.

This is a junction for Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Bahai and Druze.
Napoleon tried to cross through here to Acko. 2014-02-10 16.02.20An Ottoman ruler ran after him to here and slaughtered the soldiers that were left behind. The French built this triangle symbolizing pyramids for Napoleon Egyptian – French buried his weapons underneath the triangle. The Ottoman dug and found nothing but skulls and bones – this story is not necessarily true.

 

We went to Stella Maris. I don’t really remember the significance of this place, but it was fun. It directly overlooked the coast. 2014-02-10 16.19.30 2014-02-10 16.31.02 2014-02-10 16.34.49Lisa and I went trailblazing and left the regular path for a few minutes. The normal path was just downhill easy stairs.

Elijah the prophet fought against the polytheists around him because he believed in one Gd. 2014-02-10 16.51.08 2014-02-10 16.51.45 2014-02-10 16.52.39He had to run away, and lived in a cave in a mountain for a while, right here in Haifa! There is a menorah carved into the wall that resembles the menorah in the old temple. An old man with a long white beard greeted us at Elijah’s cave. He even blew a large shofar for us. I said a small prayer in the hidden part of the synagogue, with many inscriptions in the cave wall.

Afterwards, we caught the sunset at the beach. It was also my first time at the beach in Haifa, and it was beautiful.2014-02-10 17.28.48

Jaffa

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After spending a long night out in Tel Aviv and staying at the Beachfront hotel, I wake up to join the university’s tour of the old city of Jaffa (Yafo).

Yafo is something like 4000 years old! Now what we mostly are able to see is from the Ottoman period.2014-02-07 08.47.46

Something I did not realize…Tel Aviv is only 100 something years old! It was the first modern city made by the Zionist movement in the early 1900s. It’s probably one of the reasons I do not like Tel Aviv as much as some other cities in Israel. I appreciate the ancient history of Israel too much, and Tel Aviv is and feels too modern. But that’s why it was made, to add a modern appeal to draw more people to Israel. Apparently, the municipality just installed city-wide 2014-02-07 10.31.51Wifi!!

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Viewing Something New from Something Old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Know the story of Jonah and the whale? He took a ship to run away from G-d (nice try, Jonah…) from the port in Jaffa!

King Solomon wanted tall strong high trees, so he imported cedars from Lebanon to Jerusalem through the Jaffa port.

The land used to have orchards and orchards 2014-02-07 09.38.19of oranges of the best quality. They discovered a new species, called something like the shamuti, which had a thick peel to keep out bugs. This floating tree represents that we are sadly now disconnected from our roots in more ways than just the orange tree…

Reflect,

sail,

reconnect.

Diaspora Museum – Tel Aviv

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My visit to the Diaspora Museum, a museum on the Tel-Aviv University campus, increased my pride in my heritage.

20140218-214828.jpgRead the quote to the left. This is how the museum begins. The Jewish people have survived such unbelievable odds. No other nation has made it this far in time, in relation to the hardships it faced. For what we have been through, it is almost as if we should not be here, and especially not in the numbers that we still exist. Just the fact that I feel so comfortable speaking about the Jewish people in terms of ‘we’, there still remains such a connection between every Jew and amongst the Jews to the nation as a whole. Even my generation and myself are still so much a part of our long-lasting people, despite the pride and knowledge slowly fading. I know people who simply know they are Jewish, and that is the extent of their Judaism. Still, they are beaming all over to be Jewish, without knowing the full extent of what that means. I know to some extent, and almost fully recognize and proclaim: 

I’m so blessed to be Jewish!!

Israel seemingly culminates the Jewish nation. It is so easy to be Jewish in Israel. Children grow up surrounded by the (modern) Hebrew language. They experience the majority of the country shutting down, clearing the streets that fill up with people walking, all to observe Shabbat.  The spirit of the holidays can be felt as the masses rejoice in practicing the annual celebration of our traditions. And most notably, Israelis are literally walking through ancient history every day, whether they make note of it or not.

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Even for Jews who are not in Israel, many still feel an inexplicable yearning for their homeland. There is something that is ingrained in the Jewish people: the feeling that we belong here. (Not to say that other people do not belong in Israel).

2014-02-05 17.42.22Some cool things I learned:

  • the blue and white design of the flag of Israel is meant to signify a talit!
  • Synagogue means ‘to assemble itself’ in Greek

When Kabbalah was first coming about, there was a lot of bad going on in the surrounding world. So a bunch of people thought: Let’s not look outside, let’s celebrate amongst ourselves in song and look into the joyous mysticisms of our religion. As ignorant as this might seem, sometimes it’s necessary to block out all the bad going on in the world. Sometimes, it’s okay to get lost in imagination and exploration. Sometimes, it’s totally okay to be an optimist.

Signed positively,

Ki

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Nazareth

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Tuesday 28.1.14 Nazareth

DISCLAIMER: I learned more about Christianity in the duration of our few hour trip than I have in my whole life. Here you will find some of what I saw and learned, albeit presented in a not super serious (and questionably factual) manner.
Anything you see here today is just what might have been. It is not based on fact, rather belief. We cannot say for a fact that this was the exact spot that a so called angel swooped down, maybe because it was many years ago or maybe because it never happened.

Welcome to Nazareth, a city based on tradition.
20140202-165933.jpg This is a recreation of the town’s well, where Mary supposedly met Joseph. (Don’t drink the water; no one knows where it comes from nowadays.) Fun fact: Mary’s real name is Miriam. In the olden times, women used to cover themselves with veils in practice of modesty. When Mary first met Joseph, she “accidentally” let her veil slip off to essentially be like “Oh, heyyyyy there, good-looking, you are totally free to address me now.”

20140202-170412.jpgInterestingly enough, there were no churches in Nazareth until about 500 years after Jesus’ time. Despite it being the city where he grew up, there is a saying that goes “you can’t be a prophet in your own city.” They wanted to throw him off a cliff! He disappeared while being dragged to his banishment, and that was the last time he was seen in Nazareth.

The word Teacher in the New Testament is translated from Rabbi… Jesus was not only Jewish but a rabbi as well! That’s why there’s a “synagogue church.”

Joseph was a descendant of King David?! And so the angel told Mary: Yo, Mary, you pregoz! Your son’s name will be Jesus and he will be a king just like his ancestor David.

Jesus, aka Savior, is a heavy name to bestow upon a lil baby. So there is a theory he was born with the name Emmanuel, or “with god,” and later took on the name Jesus.

20140202-171553.jpgAs soon as we rounded the corner, we saw this huge frickin church, to which I appropriately responded, “Holy schnitzel!” It is the Church of the Enunciation, and it is one of the places they claim the announcement that Jesus is going to come happened.

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Here is not only a cool angle inside the huge church, but this is the Jerusalem cross. This cross symbolizes Jerusalem as the center of the world, with the four corners of the world around it (that also signify something more Christian). Even though it is a Christian symbol, I love the sentiment that you can just give a little kid a map and ask, “where’s Israel?” The kid does not even have to look, rather just point at the center. Is this why, besides ancestral history, that so many sects of the world gather here and wish to claim this land as their own? Is this why they say that when the Messiah comes we will all journey to Israel, the central meeting point for the human world? Hmmm…20140202-171731.jpgThis particular Jerusalem cross is the St. Francis version, with the two hands. Notice the robe sleeve hanging down from the left one. St. Francis believed that if Jesus was poor, we too should be poor. So, he only wore robes and went barefoot, with a sole purpose of lending a helping hand to others.

 

God will come on to you.
Sincerely,
Nazareth

P.S. We then debated the reality of immaculate conception.