I apologize to all of you who are watching the news about Paris and wondering if this behavior could expand to Jerusalem or our flight. Our driver is awesome; he knows what's happening where and sometimes detours if he has heard something about an unsafe area. More importantly is that we all over the world need to join together with positive thoughts that whose who hate will hate less and that our leaders will use wisdom and compassion to protect us.
Aha, the teacher and guide discovered that we would tolerate a earlier, 7:30AM, get on the bus. We did this to drive to a crusader's church, that is it was built by the crusaders when they tried to rescue the Holy Land from the Turks and Arabs. We had reserved the church to conduct a final mass on this trip. There were exactly 20 chairs in the front row for all 20 of us. Keriann, Kay and Marvin started the service with a trumpet accompaniment and some singing. Teacher Luker led us in the eucharist, scripture readings and an hominy during which each of us could talk about our "Emmanus" moment during this trip, a time when our eyes were opened and we saw Jesus or something special. It was very postivie about what group members were feeling.
The church is possibly near where Jesus walked with the two men on the way to Emmanus and then taught them and broke bread with them. Dr Luker also pointed out several other sites where this event may have also occurred.
A quick bus ride hanging on the sides of hills that were covered by enough trees for them to call forests. Amazing for being in Israel. We ended at Yad Vashem, a museum featuring the holocaust. The focus seemed to be on the persons who were imprisoned and killed. If one watched all the videos and read all the explanations it might take days to pass through the museum which zig zagged from rooms on the left to rooms on the right and back again. We allocated ourselves one hour.
After exiting the museum we viewed several outdoor monuments and the children's museum. The museum was dark to the point that one had to follow the railing but filled with hundreds of small points of lights and the names of all one and a half million children who were killed in the holocaust were read in English, German and Hebrew along with their age and country of residence. Simple but very thought provoking.
Back to the hotel of a lunch of your choice and a free afternoon. Some chose to walk to the Old City and walk the Via Dolorosa (the route of Jesus's final walk to Gologoth), some went shopping and others napped. I napped. The walkers reported taking some "altervative" routes and walked about six miles. The shoppers shared stories about their wares at the evening meal.
Meals at this the Olive Tree Hotel are buffets with great variety. I have not seen any milk in the evening or meat in the morning, so I suspect we are working with a Jewish kitchen. Monday evening was an American style menu, Tuesday Chinese and tonight Italian. While one can always find something tasty, some of us think if they stayed with a Istaeli menu they'd be better off.
Internet service is very bad to impossible this evening so it's questionable if this will be posted this evening. As we return to Portland tomorrow, a post will probably be just an acknowledgment that we arrived back safetly. With the holidays coming soon, it may take some time, but I will try to develop a more extensive website about this trip: saxowsky.com/nov15.