Fri 17 Feb 2017
In 1993, John and I made our first trip to Israel. It was on a tour and it was life-changing. Halfway through, I realized the trip had become a pilgrimage for me. I also remember standing at Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast, looking at the ancient ruins of the city and the nearby Roman aqueduct and thinking, I want to retire here. (There is a residential neighborhood just down the road from the archeological site.) In subsequent trips, driving with family or friends, we discovered Zihkron Ya’akov, a wonderful village on a hill overlooking the ancient village of Dor, where they are doing underwater archeological excavations. Once, we stumbled into a little hut and were shown an encrusted sword that had been at the bottom of the sea since the time of Napoleon that the local-but-famous archeologist talking to us had uncovered. Zihkron Ya’akov is a lovely village, off-the-beaten tourist path. There is little English, unlike the heavily trafficked tourist areas, and so eating in a restaurant became an exercise in trust: “feed me” vs. trying to order specifically from the menu written only in Hebrew. We were delighted with what we got.
Throughout the years, we have lead tours, done driving trips, and John even did a solo walking trip at one point. We’ve been to Jordan, Israel’s (mostly) friendly neighbor three times as well, twice with tour groups, once driving on our own. Always in the back of our minds, we had the dream of spending an extended time in the region.
This spring, everything has lined up and we are going to Jerusalem for three months. I will be focusing on Lent and Holy Week practices in both the Western and Eastern churches, which share April 16th as Easter this year. John wants to walk every street in the Old City and has a list of bakeries he plans to check out. I will be subbing for the organist at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer on Maundy Thursday and then walking with the congregation to Gethsemane for prayer. We plan to spend unrestricted time at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. We will get a membership to the Israeli museum. We will eat at the restaurant by the Fifth Station of the Cross, get falafel at the Jaffa Gate, and buy coffee from our favorite coffee vendor in the Old City. We will spend time at the American Colony Hotel and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
In short, we hope to soak more deeply into a place that has been meaningful and life-changing for us both.
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So “Life in This Old House” is going to take a break and “Life on the Road” will commence shortly. I hope you will ride along!