Winter Trip 2010: Post #2

Here is an update of the past few days:

Wednesday

I went to the Israel Museum.  It had been closed when I was in Israel in 2005 and 2008 and they just reopened it.  It’s amazing.  I was there for 4+ hours and could have stayed longer.  I went through the exhibits (Jewish Life, Fine Art, Dead Sea Scrolls, Map of Second Temple Jerusalem, etc.) and took a tour of the archeology exhibit before going back through to see a few parts.  From there I took a bus (and met the volunteer coordinator for the museum at the station who explained to me how bus transfers work) to the Central Bus Station to try to find out about some tours, with no luck.  I got my first falafel of the trip and then took a bus to the Old City to find out about possible tours.  I walked around a bit and went to the Western Wall for a quick prayer and to put a note in the wall.  I then got lost (of course) and followed some guys who were studying a Jewish text who said they were going to one place but went to another.  Eventually I made it back.  After navigating my way back to the apartment I was staying at, I got ready for the evening’s wedding.

I spend the night at Dvora (who I had met in 2008) and Yair’s (who I met last night) wedding.  It was amazing and beautiful.  It was held at Shoresh, a Moshav about 20 minutes outside of Jerusalem.  It was a great night.  There was a reception (with lots of food), candle lighting (it was the first night of Chanukah), the chupah (wedding ceremony), dinner, dancing, more food, dancing, desert, dancing, etc.  The chupah was outside and it was a great night for it.  There was more food than I could have imagined and the bride and groom looked beautiful.  Of course, I forgot my camera, but I am sure there will be pictures posted.

Today

I woke up a bit later since we went to bed so late after the wedding.  I met up with Rabbi Romm.  I had thought it would be just for a few hours, but I ended up spending the day with his family.  We went back to Shoresh to pick up Yair and Dvora who spent the night there.  I also got to admire the great views and scenery of the Jerusalem hills.  I spent the day catching up, hanging out, seeing the neighborhood, etc.  It went fast and has been a lot of fun.  I am spending the night here.

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Other notes:

  • There is a huge fire going on in Northern Israel with over 40 people who died when their bus caught on fire.  Read about it.
  • Tomorrow I may go to the Bible Lands Museum and perhaps look around the shuk (market) before going to the Old City (I will be staying in a hostel there for the next several nights) to get ready for Shabbat.
  • I like Chanukah in Israel.  There are candleabras on lightpoles all over the city.
  • I booked a tour for Sunday to Beit Shean and the Golan Heights.  I wanted to go and my time ability and plans have changed from my original idea.  This tour should be really good, it’s just expensive.
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Winter Trip 2010: Post #1

I am currently sitting on a couch in an apartment in Jerusalem!  It’s been two years since I could say that.  I am very happy to be back.

I just got into Israel this afternoon (it is about 10:30 p.m. now.  Below is a basic outline of what’s happened so far:

  • I got to the St. Louis airport, later than planned of course, around 12:00 p.m. Monday.  I avoided the full body scanner and went through a metal detector while a Catholic Priest was being frisked in the line next to me.
  • I got into Philadelphia a bit early and did some last minute emails and phone calls.  In the middle of it, everyone in the gate area for the upcoming Israel flight was asked to leave so security could get it ready for the flight.  When I went back, they had put up a seperate wall.  We all had to go through a second line of bag screening and metal detectors to go to Israel.
  • My flight to Israel was long, but quite nice.  I sat by some interesting people, slept a bit, read, and watched two movies.  I was able to get Kosher meals, even though I had not requested them in advance.
  • I went through passport control, retrieved my bags from baggage claim, and tried to rent a cell phone.  Apparently you can no longer rent cell phones in Ben-Gurion Airport.  I wish I had known about that change in advance.
  • I took the train from the airport to Tel-Aviv Haganah train station.  In the station I tried to rent a phone, no luck.
  • I walked to the Tel-Aviv bus station down the street to catch a bus to Jerusalem.  I also tried to rent a phone there.  With no luck again, I bought a go phone.
  • I experienced the Tel-Aviv/Jerusalem evening traffic.
  • I went through the bus station in Jerusalem and got a bus to French Hill.  The bus was very busy.
  • In French Hill, I met the family I am spending the night with, had dinner, walked the dog, etc.

Tomorrow I plan to go to the newly renovated Israel Museum and who knows what else.  In the evening, I go to a wedding outside of Jerusalem and it is also the first night of Chanukah.  I’m excited!

Hopefully, I will be able to solidify more plans tomorrow.  I don’t know how often (or detailed) I will be writing, but there should be an update here in a few days or this weekend at the latest.