Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Here's to you, Israel

Some friends and I at the oldest bakery in the Old City


A sweet, old Muslim man outside the Dome of the Rock
Happy Birthday, Israel! Last night the country was bursting with joy as the people of Israel celebrated their Independence Day. We went to Ben Yehuda Street, the Greenwich Village of Jerusalem, and found ourselves in the middle of the biggest party in the city.  Street vendors starting setting up their stands packed with patriotic goodies in the early afternoon. There was blow-up flags, silly string, flags, and a plethora of other items. Each plaza turned into a dance floor as bands blared music over their speakers celebrating the creation of the State of Israel.

At the end of the street we found a band playing upbeat music and started an impromptu dance party. As we danced people began to gather around us and take pictures of the Americans celebrating their beloved holiday.  The best part of being in Israel is the sweet people that we have the privilege to interact with.  They were excited to see us enjoying their celebration and participating in this holiday along side them.
The Dome of the Rock

Earlier in the day, all of the students in the JC took a field trip to Jericho, the oldest city in the world.  We descended over 3500ft as we went from Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley. Jericho looked more like what I thought Jerusalem would look like.  The area surrounding the city is desert.  For the most part the land is pretty barren once you're outside of Jericho.  The city, however, is an oasis tucked into the hills of the midbar wilderness.

We saw the old city wall that the fell when Joshua and his army blew the ram's horn.  Being in Israel makes the Bible come alive and my appreciation for this wonderful book has increased so much! I love walking where the prophets of old walked and taught.  I feel a closer to connection to them.  I am able to understand how truly difficult their lives were and, in turn, how great their faith was.  I am humbled by the opportunity to live in the Holy Land and have a renewed determination to take full advantage of the spiritual oasis that lies just outside my door.

The pictures don't really match, but oh well :)

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