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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

ISRAEL--EVERYONE SHOULD VISIT!

My earliest memories of my grandfather’s Passover seders include the hopeful words for all Jewish people, “Next year in Jerusalem.” This year I made it. Not only did I welcome the Shabbat at the Western Wall but also I became Bat Mitzvah on Mt. Scopus overlooking Jerusalem. Little did I realize how the fulfillment of that yearly Passover wish would release feelings I didn’t know I had.

Mixed up with travel, religion, and history in our two-week trip to Israel is an emotional component both surprising and enriching. Our Margaret Morse Tour was, by far, the most perfectly orchestrated Israeli experience I could have imagined. Our guide, David, displayed encyclopedic knowledge, and as I share my experience and photos with you, I must say, “Go to Israel!”

How apropos to begin our trip to Israel in Tel Aviv. The name itself comes from Theodore Hertzl’s “Old New Land” or “Tel” meaning “old” and “Aviv” referring to the Spring of the year (new). This city and its environs reflect the bustling modernity of business, architecturally modern skyscrapers, and first rate hotels juxtaposed with Jaffa, not only the oldest part of Tel Aviv but also the oldest port in the world!
Tel Aviv
Jaffa
Jaffa is quite an eye-opener as we drive from our beautiful Dan Panorama Hotel overlooking the Mediterranean. Jaffa was a crowded walled city in the 1790s when it was the entrance to the land. Israel, in restoring this area, seeks to maintain its original character. The narrow, twisting cobblestone streets and stone buildings and steps remain as do the zodiac signszodiac in Tel Aviv on the buildings, a reminder that the inhabitants were fishermen who lived by the stars.
Jaffa

A hostel to help newcomers learn the ways of the country remains as does the apartment where the idea of an army to protect the immigrant farmers out in the country. That army developed into the Haganah.
Tel Aviv

By far the most stunning reminder that we are merely blips in a long procession of civilizations is our arrival at Tel Jaffa. “Tel” is an archeological dig, and there are 22,000 tels in Israel, most waiting to be studied because of the enormous expense. Uncovered at Tel Jaffa are 25 levels of civilization, and we visit an Egyptian section where the wall dates to 3,300 BCE (Before the Common Era). That’s the Bronze Age.
Tel Jaffa--Tel Aviv

Not only do we see the wall, but also rooms.

Tel Jaffa--Tel Aviv
I’ve never seen anything like this outside a museum, but here the tel exists along a walkway to a park, a natural part of the landscape.

Tel Jaffa--Tel Aviv

This is just the beginning of jaw-dropping moments because Jaffa’s history is phenomenal. While today’s Jaffa has its artist colony, nightlife, and restaurants, it is difficult to forget it was founded by Noah’s son, Japhet, that cedar trees from Jaffa were used by King Solomon to build the Temple in Jerusalem, that the Greeks believed that in the waters here Poseidon chained Andromeda who was rescued by Perseus, that Jonah sailed from here only to meet a whale, that one can still visit Simon the Tanner’s house where St. Peter stayed and realized the gospels had to go beyond Judaism’s confines, that Richard the Lionhearted built a citadel here that was promptly taken by Saladin, and on and on.
Jaffa
Jaffa

Jaffa

St. Peter's Church  Tel Aviv
St. Peter's Church

In Abrasha Park overlooking the Mediterranean stands the Statue of Faith illustrating Jacob’s Dream, the sacrifice of Isaac, and the Fall of Jericho.Statue of Faith   Tel Aviv I can see past the city of Tel Aviv across the entire country to the Judean Hills, and I am acutely aware of Israel’s vulnerability and the fragility of its 8,500 square miles.

This, we are soon to learn, is Israel, a dichotomy of old and new continuing the struggle of its existence.


travel trips vacations destinations "Third Age Traveler" "third age" photography "travel photos" "travel tips" world "Middle East" Israel "Tel Aviv" tours "Margaret Morse" "Dan Panorama" Mediterranean Jaffa "Western Wall" Shabbat seas oceans ports archeology digs tels Egypt "St. Peter" churches Solomon David Jerusalem statues "Statue of Faith" "Judean Hills" seders Hertzl Technorati zodiac "Bronze Age" Noah Bible history

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