Posted By rachael
Date: June 13th, 2009
Category: Rachael's blog
A few more interesting adventures to report before we return to the states on June 30:
We found an amazing tourist trap…. er, I mean, religious pilgrimage site… just south of the Kineret (Galilee) on the shores of the Jordan river. It is the place where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus. Pilgrims from all over the world come to be baptized. Here is a photo of a priest baptizing somebody.
The people changed into white robes before they walked into the water. It was very cool. The gift shop was full of things like vials of “water from the holy land” and other knick-knacks that you couldn’t dream up.
Lag Ba’Omer is a Jewish holiday that happens in early May. We don’t make a big deal of it at home but here in Israel it is a huge party. The custom is to throw a bonfire. Larry and our friend Becca drove from Haifa to Tel Aviv that evening and said there were so many bonfires along the Mediterranean shore that the smoke filled the sky. Imagine the U.S. government allowing something like that! Here we are at a bonfire on the beach.
Several friends told us about a festival at an old orchard (called a “bustan”) to raise funds to restore it. The bustan is nestled into the base of the Carmel Mountain not far from the sea. A wealthy Arab family built ornate pools and channels in the late 19th century but they are now in disrepair. We went with our friends Rachel and Yuval Nov-Kolodni and their kids. We saw pomegranate and apricot trees, lots of hippies and a circus performer. It was fun!
And finally, on our last trip to Jerusalem we visited the Israel Museum — the official national museum. There was an astonishing exhibit called “Bizarre Perfection.” We saw an installation of a kitchen made entirely of beads. Literally everything in the photo, from the cereal boxes to the dirty dishes in the sink, is made of beads. It was bizarre.
We took the requisite trip to the old city, visited with cousins and friends, saw the Biblical Zoo and had dinner with our cousin Esty Shohami in a beautiful artist’s colony called Ein Kerem. We also were in Jerusalem during the week that the military was conducting an emergency preparedness drill. We had the privilege (if you can call it that) of descending with our friend Ed Kaplan into a bunker underneath a shopping mall for 2 minutes. It was comfortable, air conditioned, they offered us free coffee… not at all what I expected.
I should add that one of the nicest surprises of this leg of the trip was my sister’s engagement! Spencer proposed to her while they were visiting with us. The wedding will be in San Fransisco in the fall.
We will try to post one more time before we leave. If we don’t manage to write again, we’re looking forward to catching up with you when we return to Boston.