A Day Here in Israel

      Breakfast is eggs, cheese, olives and several kinds of juices. The orange juice is fresh and unsugared, so naturally sweet it makes your teeth hurt.

   Lunch was a flat bread concoction of Mediteranean oregano, onions and garlic. Strong.

   Dinner was Shabbat observance; bread, honey, grilled fish and mashed potatoes with melon for desert. Two salads, one with onions, tomatoes and olive oil, the other with raw cabbage and carrots. I ate both salads and two pieces of fish, with bread and honey.

   Today was the preparation for Shabbat, so things were frantic in the morning and early afternoon. That is to say, we picked up the pace a bit. My preparation workouts, described previously, help a lot. Everything here is steeply uphill, then sharply downhill. It is a wonderful cardio workout, which I am starting to tolerate better. My knees ache after a day of climb, descend, climb, descend, but my heart is not pounding out of my chest as much now. I tried to be polite and hang back with the group for a few days but now I just plow up the hill. It is less dusty that way.

   Yesterday, in the Judean hillside we found a rolling stone tomb, complete with facilities for the second burial. One is reminded how small the first century people were. I was obliged to bend half over at the waist and put my hands palm down on the ground to enter the tomb. The air in the tomb is cool and moist but the smell of death is present.

   We got today to the Church of the Redeemer. People from Orthodox groups around the world were there in great numbers. At the place thought to be the place of the Crucifixion, there is a large sacramental table. People approach it, get down on their knees and crawl underneath it to kiss the altar and cross themselves repeatedly. I stood at the side of the table for several minutes, watching young and old of various nationalities crawl under the table, as I had crawled the day before into the tiny tomb cut into the side of a Judean hill.

   My companions are lovely people from Ohio and Wisconsin. They have learned to put up with mah drawlin' speech. 

   We met an Aussie Jewish expatriate coming out of a dig yesterday. He was covered in dirt and grime from a day unearthing antiquities. He was as friendly as most Aussies. They are generally the nicest people one meets anywhere. 

   He introduced himself, Aussie style and asked us our names and places of origin. After I told him mah name, he interrupted me and said, "Ok, Texan, for sure."

   Oh, well.

   It is 11pm here and I am now going to bed. Tomorrow, if the net works, I will try to tell you about the wonderful Shabbat observance in a home here.

 

   Shalom from Jerusalem, the Crown City of God.

 

Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

 

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