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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Back to Jerusalem

We had a wonderful visit at Vered Hagalil. The weather was perfect, the sky was clear and the view was terrific.  We sat at night out on our porch and looked at the Sea of Galilee with the almost full moon shining on it. It was amazingly quiet. The only sounds we heard were the coyotes calling to each other in the distance.  Such a beautiful sight.  Our one unwelcomed guest had a short life span.  Not sure what he is but here is his picture.

 Surrounding the porch we sat on were grape vines growing and already with small grapes on the vines.
 The management of Vered Hagalil has done a wonderful job in building up the place. Around all the new cabins they have planted all types of herbs that you are free to pick and use. They had mint, rosemary, sage, lavender, and other plants you can make tea with.
In another area they have fruit trees and you are welcome to pick whatever is in season.  One other interesting site on the property is an area for "quiet time." In that area are large boulders to sit on and lots of terebinth trees for shade.  You can find that tree mentioned in the Bible. They also have an ancient wine press and the site of a farm house that is over 2000 years old. Lots to see there.  David took a minute to sit under the Terebinth trees.
We drove back to Jerusalem through the Jordan Valley. For the first time ever, we saw mud and water standing from the heavy rain that fell a few days ago.  For a desert area that was strange.


We also met several large trucks hauling Merkava tanks moving north. This is Israel's main battle tank.


We are thankful for a safe trip to the Galilee and back. Drivers in Israel are a little crazy. As we were coming across the Jordan Valley, driving between Jericho and Jerusalem, a Palestinian driver (it is possible to distinguish where a car is from by the different color license plate) was waiting to turn left up ahead of us. As we got near him he pulled half way across our lane and stopped.  David slammed on his brakes, blew his horn and the man did not move. So we had to get off the road to keep from hitting him.  We don't know if he was just a poor driver, not paying attention or did it on purpose but it certainly got our pulse beating fast.  

Monday, May 12, 2014


We had a very busy day yesterday visiting with new Ethiopian friends and Israeli friends we have known for years.  As soon as our lunch guests left we raced to the moneychangers to get shekels for our trip to the Galilee and found we were too late. They were closed. So that delayed our leaving Jerusalem this morning. 

We walked to the money changers at 8 this morning just as they were opening and paused to have another cup of cafĂ© afuk with chocolate croissant.  We will certainly miss both of those when we leave and will avoid weighing for at least one month when we get home.

We got our little car and experienced a terrifying time as we drove down the hill from Jerusalem. At least it was terrifying to me since I wasn’t driving. David was. I felt like we were on a roller skate surrounded by large trucks and buses driving wildly out of control. But that’s just me. We got on Israel’s version of the Interstate, highway 6 and stopped at the first, what you would call in the states, rest stop. It is nothing like a rest stop in America.  We went in a little coffee shop to get coffee and use the restroom.  I will post a picture of the restroom for your enjoyment.  It was one restroom for both men and women.  What a shock to us oldies! Israel has moved on.  A religious couple stood at the door staring at the sign in disbelief that they were to both go to the same bathroom. But when you gotta go, you gotta go.  I think this was another first. I don’t think David and I have EVER washed our hands together in a public bathroom!

As you can see on the door both boys and girls are welcome here

We drove on to Dalit ha Karmel, a Druze village, to visit our old friend Fuad. He had a heart attack last year and we were not sure he was still there. But he was, still in business trying to sell us everything in the store.  We came away with less money than we intended. But it was good to see he was still working and enjoying life.

We arrived at Vered Hagalil, a place we have visited for about 35 years.  It was a little sad to see how it has changed.  David tried to tell the girl checking us in how many years we have known Yehuda and his wife Yona, owners of the place. She didn’t care. It was all business to her. Yehuda died two years ago and life goes on. They have a new dining area and other new buildings on the property.  But the Sea of Galilee that G-d created is still the same. Just as beautiful as ever.  We are sitting on our tiny porch enjoying the view of the sun setting on the Sea before going to enjoy the new dining area.  






 We visited Caesarea on our way to the Galilee. It was a beautiful day there by the sea.




 Blessings to each of you from the Galilee.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Beautiful Day in Jerusalem

The weather has been perfect. Today was about 70 degrees for a high and now possibly in the 50's since the sun is going down.  Great weather for walking and enjoying the sights. Today we went back to visit with Tzion, the manager of the Ethiopian Community Center.  On our way back we road on a very crowded bus for a short distance and then decided it would be much more enjoyable to get off and walk.  While we were walking we got a few pictures of the blooming flowers.



As soon as we returned to our apartment we put together lunch for two of our favorite Israelis.  We spent lunch and the afternoon catching up on what is happening in our lives. The time went by too fast and soon they were gone on to other things.

Tomorrow we plan to drive to the Galilee and spend the night at Vered Hagalil.  We return to Jerusalem Tuesday night and have Wednesday to enjoy before flying back to Pensacola on Thursday. We have one more meeting with friends on Wednesday. How fast time flies when you are in Israel!

Yesterday, being the Sabbath, we walked to the Western Wall and along the way enjoyed ourselves. We first stopped at Safra Park to ride their bikes situated in the center of the park as pieces of art. Each bike has something attached to it. The one we tried had a drum up on a pole attached to the bike. When you peddled sticks beat on the drum. Children, and the two of us, enjoyed the ride.


All during Sabbath we enjoyed seeing the Ethiopians in their beautiful dress. We found out the Ethiopians living in our area are Christians. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church rents apartments to them near us. The Ethiopians Tzion works with are Jewish.  Also the Orthodox men were out walking to the wall.


The days have flown by and the time has been wonderful. We are thankful that we have managed to meet new people and possibly new places we can work in October. Yesterday on Shabbat afternoon we were sadden to watch a group of Orthodox men demonstrating and throwing rocks at non religious Israelis walking down our street. Most of the men in the group were young but they were teaching young boys to throw rocks and scream at adults that were not like them. I guess intolerance is everywhere.

We are looking forward to our trip to the Galilee. Please continue to pray for us while we are here.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Last Friday in Jerusalem

In less than 2 hours will begin our last Sabbath in Jerusalem for this trip. If it is G-d's will we will be back for many more.  As we mentioned there was an unusual rain in Israel yesterday. Israel news called it a historic rain.The largest rain for this time of year since records have been kept. Roads were washed out near Eilat and homes were flooded in Beit Shemesh.  It rained in the morning and just when we thought it was over we began walking to the shuk (open air market). Half way there the heavens opened up and rain poured down. Of course we did not pack an umbrella because it is not supposed to rain this time of the year. So we stood, with many others, under the awning of a shop until we could race back to our apartment.

Raining on Jaffa Road

Last night we went to the Olive and Fish Restaurant to have one of many to come celebrations of our 50th wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful meal and relaxing time.  This has become our favorite place to eat in Jerusalem.  We enjoyed a beautiful walk to and from the restaurant instead of taking the quicker method of riding a bus. 

This WAS a delicious eggplant dish that we shared before having kosher steaks and salad. You can still see the stem of the eggplant. At least we didn't eat that.

This morning we walked to the shuk to buy food for the weekend. It was unusually crowded even for the Friday morning gang of people that are usually there. I guess no one wanted to shop yesterday in the rain. But we managed to shove our way though the throngs of people and get what we needed.  We hope to walk to the Western Wall tomorrow and look forward to fixing lunch for friends from Tel Aviv on Sunday.

So far in our trip we have met many interesting people and have more possibilities of work projects for October. Please pray for people to be willing to come here in October to help the helpless of the house of Israel. There are poor families needing help, Holocaust survivors needing help and Ethiopian Immigrants needing help.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Flooding again?

Yesterday was filled with meetings. By the time we finished the last one and road the bus home neither of us had the energy to report on the blog about our day. We were riding the bus from Psgat Ze'ev around 9:30 pm back to our apartment and the sky was lit up with lightening and thunder.  It began to rain soon after we got in and rained all night and most of the morning. There are reports of flooding and people trapped in the Negev. We are beginning to wonder if we are taking floods where ever we go since it flooded in Pensacola as we were leaving.  At present the sun is out again and warming up outside.

Yesterday we met a lady name Helen. She is an Israeli citizen and works with Ethiopian immigrants known as Falasha Jews.  She leads a very interesting life. Today she met us and showed us the new building in Talpiot that is being used by the Ethiopian community.  The building was bought by The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.  They are just beginning to furnish the inside. There is a synagogue for worship, rooms for classes and offices. As Ethiopian families made their way to Israel they faced many hardships adjusting to the culture here. It is so different from what they left behind. The adults have had a difficult time. Family structure that was so important in Ethiopia has broken down here. This building is being used to help the adults learn the language, how to shop and how to deal with government offices. There is also counseling for those who need it. This operation is being run by an Ethiopian man named Zion. He came to Israel 30 years ago, escaping from Ethiopia, walking through Sudan and after more than 3 years making it to Israel. Years later he went back to get his family and bring them here too. He understands what the new immigrants are going through.  As he has searched for a way for the people to express themselves he found so many of them have artistic talent.  We bought two things today that was hand made by two Ethiopian women. They are supporting themselves by selling their work.


This picture was done by a lady named Kasanesh. Her husband died on their way to Israel. She  is 56 years old and has six children to support. The picture is the wall falling down at Jericho. You can't really tell by the photo but the stitching in the picture is very tiny and the back looks as neat as the front.  They make their own design, as the manager said, "It comes from their heart."

The next picture was done by a woman named Uvalu. She has 8 children to support.  She received a lot of help in the beginning but her family is now self supporting.  That is the goal for each family.  The picture below is of the Sabbath. I love their bright colors.


This is Zion, a man that loves his work and his people.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Yom Hatzmaout


We started our day by watching the Israeli Air Force fly over. After several attempts to get a picture we finally got one. They were moving too fast over our building to get better pictures.  

After lunch we joined friends at the home of Shoshi and Baruch, people we have known for years.  We had 13 children and 10 adults stuffed in a small home enjoying the celebration of Israel's birthday.  We grilled out and had birthday cake to celebrate Baruch's birthday.  This young family lives in an area surrounded by arab villages. They deal with rock throwing and other violent actions by their neighbors but feel this is where G-d wants this for now. It is also much cheaper than an apartment in Jerusalem. They have a tiny yard which is a valuable thing in this area and have 7 chickens in the back yard.  It was good to hear people discussing G-d's word, debating heatedly their points of view and remaining friends when it was over. We came back to our apartment tonight and enjoyed the quiet after such a "festive" day.

 Grilling out
 Part of the finished product
These are three of the children living in this home. I might add they had to spend a night away from home last week so their home could be sprayed for scorpions! They found 2 inside their home and decided it was time to do something.

Tomorrow will be a day of meetings beginning at 10 am and ending around 9 pm. We must go to bed early to have brain power for tomorrow.  In one meeting we will be talking to a lady that works with Ethiopians and is looking for help.  We will see what tomorrow brings.  

Monday, May 05, 2014

Independence Day begins

Another day has flown by. The last two days have been very hot - in the high 90's but tonight cool weather is coming back.  The dry heat certainly saps your strength. As the sun sets the music, horn blowing and parties begin.  There will be little sleep tonight.

This morning we decided to go to the soup kitchen near the shuk to volunteer for the day. When we got to the gate and opened it we were quickly met by a guard. Seems the soup kitchen is no more and instead there is a religious school for boys there. The guard was surrounded by witty middle school boys who wanted to know if we wanted to start school all over again.  So our morning of volunteering vanished.  We are looking for other opportunities.

We walked downtown as the sun was setting to get some pictures of the crowds flowing in to celebrate tonight and got a front row seat on a little excitement. For future reference don't try to walk down Jaffa Road in Jerusalem with a samurai sword wrapped in cloth. Two policemen riding on a motorcycle immediately pulled over and confronted the guy carrying the sword. They quickly had him against a wall and took the sword from him, uncovered it and saw what he was carrying. They took him and the samurai away.  We didn't feel it was the time to ask questions as to where they were going. We know the guy was very smart since he didn't put up a fight or show any anger.

Then a few minutes later, as we watched thousands of people walking by, we ran into an old friend from our past congregation here by the name of Shimon.  He picked us out in the crowd.  We spent a few minutes catching up on news.

Tomorrow afternoon we will be driving to Judea/Samaria and spending the afternoon with old and new friends, probably grilling out if they are true Israelis.  Blessings to each of you on Israel's Independence Day!

One or two people ready for a fun night

Arrest being made
David's own special coffee with his name in the foam.
Security getting ready for the night

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Remembrance Day begins Sunday night

We have had another beautiful day in Jerusalem even though it has been a very warm day.  We started out the morning visiting the Ticho House, one of the first houses built outside the old city walls.  It has a ver;y interesting history you can read about it on the internet.  The last owner was a Dr. Ticho and his wife. His wife was an artist and much of her art is displayed at the Israel Museum.  We had breakfast there and enjoyed the art and beautiful flower garden.


This afternoon we had coffee with Christine, the lady that introduced us to Jetta the holocaust survivor we helped.  She amazed us with stories of how G-d has worked in her ministry to other holocaust survivors and needy people in Israel.  She has several ideas of people we could help in October if we bring a group then.  We are praying for at least four people to come in October to help some of these families.

Tonight at 8 pm the siren sounded to begin Remembrance Day, a time of remembering all the fallen soldiers of Israel's wars. Memorial Day is a little different here in that almost every family has been touched by war. It is a heavy time. Tonight and tomorrow on TV will be a continuing recounting of battles and stories from families about their loved ones lost in war. Then when the sun sets tomorrow night parties will begin, grills will fire up and people will be celebrating Independence Day. It will carry on through Tuesday.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Shabbat in Jerusalem

We woke up very late this morning. I guess the jet lag and noisy streets at night finally won. We walked out on our small porch to a beautiful view.  People were dressed in their finest walking to Synagogue services. There were, what looked like, Ashkenazi Jews with their Tallit flying in the breeze, secular Israelis and Ethiopian Jews dressed in beautiful brightly colored dress.  As we were walking around yesterday we noticed an Ethiopian Church in our neighborhood. So I am not sure whether the Ethiopians were going to church or synagogue but the mixture of culture and dress was impressive.  Mixed in to the religious scene were a few secular Jews just going about life.

Evidently our apartment is in a neighborhood populated with lots of Ethiopians. They are really a beautiful, sensitive group of people. They have had so many hardships in adjusting to life in Israel, especially the older adults that have come here. Elders of the family no longer have the power over the family that they had in Ethiopia.  They have had a high suicide rate.

Later in the afternoon we went for a walk. To leave our building we had to wait for the Shabbat elevator. It stops on every floor (all 10 floors), the doors open for a minute and then it moves to the next floor. That way you don't have to desecrate the Sabbath by pushing a button, which would be thought of as work.  Other elevators are turned off. Revolving door at the entrance of the building did not work either. We had to actually push a door and open it!! It is so quiet in Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Tomorrow life will begin again. Below is Jaffa Road which is usually filled with people and the Tram running across the city.



Friday, May 02, 2014

Update on Friday in the kitchen

We got a report that so many in Pensacola were worried about how our chicken was going to turn out in an oven we did not understand we thought we would add an update to our last post.  The chicken was delicious. The oven knew what it was doing and all is well. We had a long discussion on carrots. The carrots cooked with the chicken are so much sweeter than any we have ever bought in the USA. Does anyone know why? Could it be these carrots were grown in holy land/holy ground? OR just that they were not trucked across country. Whatever your opinion, they are wonderful. We wait for you to send in your opinion on the carrot issue.  The siren has sounded and the Sabbath has started. Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem!


Friday in Jerusalem

I can't believe the sun is going down on this first Friday in Jerusalem and the Sabbath is about to begin. What a peaceful time of the week. The weather has been wonderful, spring like temperatures and cool nights. We are looking forward to spending Israel's Independence day with friends and catching up on what is going on with the believers in Israel. The day before Independence Day is Memorial Day, a day to remember all the people who have fallen in battle protecting the land of Israel. It always is a heavy day since almost every family has lost someone in a battle for the state of Israel.  At sundown Monday the celebrations begin celebrating the 66th year of the state of Israel.

Our day today was spent buying supplies for the Sabbath, arranging meetings with friends and learning to use an oven that has not one word of any language on it.  There are only pictures on the dial and in this case, a picture is NOT worth a thousand words.  Not sure what any of them mean but the chicken, potatoes and carrots are in there and we will see what happens to them.  We were a little late getting to the open air market called a shuk. Most of Jerusalem was there waiting for us. We squeezed our way through and managed to buy what we needed.  Photos will follow.

Our plans are to walk to the Western Wall tomorrow on Shabbat. We will post again soon.



Thursday, May 01, 2014

Beginning journey

Well the beginning of this trip has proved interesting.  As soon as we left Pensacola on Tuesday things begin to happen there with flooding and storms.  Two of our three flights were late but we managed to get to Tel Aviv only an hour late.  We managed to get through passport control, retrieve our luggage and leave the airport in about 30 minutes. I think that must be some kind of record for Israel.

We arrived at our rental apartment and found it to be more than we anticipated. It is in a brand new building and it looks like we have graduated! For the first time ever we have the luxury of an elevator. For all of you who have traveled to Israel with us you will understand our excitement that we are not climbing 3 or 4 flights of stairs carrying heavy loads.  We found a small (and I mean small) grocery across the street last night to buy a few things to get through the evening. The owner gave us his phone number and said for us to call and let him know what we need and he would bring it to us at no extra charge.  I guess we looked as tired as we felt.

After dumping our luggage we took off downtown to our favorite restaurant to have hummus and falafels.  Somehow that restaurant has become our first stop for every trip.

We were not able to get on the internet until today but now everything seems to be working. Today was supposed to include a drive to the Tel Aviv beach for a service but it was cancelled at the last minute.  With the jet lag we are experiencing we might have slept through it anyway.  Hopefully it will be rescheduled before we leave.

We ar praying for all our friends in Pensacola. From what we have seen on the news there was lots of damage done.

The first picture is self explanatory the last one is the building across from our apartment. We will post more later.