Isreal


It was pretty much impossible to see all of the Stations of the Cross because:

A) our Jewish guide didn’t know where to go and ……

B) wheel chair on cobbles = “not good”

 

We employed a 15 year old Arabic boy to navigate the “Crazy Arabic flee market” ciaos that is the “Via Dolorosa”.  (The old Jerusalem roads……… and the supposed path that Jesus took with the cross)

The path

The path

  

We didn’t have the time (or mobility) to visit all the stations but the few we did see…… they spoke to me.

 

Station #3: Jesus falls the first time…………….

.hmmm………I know the feeling……minus the torture, ridicule, whips and crown of thorns part.

He falls the 1st time

He falls the 1st time

 

 

Station 7: Simon helps Jesus carry the cross………….people I don’t know help me out all the time………God bless them.

 

 

Station #1:  Jesus is convicted………..

 This one was very important to me……the guides kept saying:  

“No, No, No,… Sir,…………nothing to see there,….. just school yard……..”

 

I looked at the one guy…..he was Muslim, and the other was Jewish……..”maybe not for you guys”….I said.

I had to climb the stairs for that one………….it took awile….but I made it

More than just a school yard

More than just a school yard

 

It was a time in history…… that we turned our back on him and in the end he forgave us for everything.

And the Jewish high priests were so jelous of his populatity…….they had Pontias Pilate put him to death…… as not to have blood on thier hands.

  

We then proceeded to a church in the center of all the ciaos.  I don’t know what it’s called but it was amazing…..the last two stations are there and supposedly Jesus’ tomb.

 

Our guide wheeled me up to the front of the line and started with the Arabic negotiation of how we were to cut in front of all these people that had been waiting patiently. 

The place was about to close and this is where the catholic guilt set in.

 

I told the two guides that outside these walls………….I respect the Jewish way and the Arabic way of arguing and negotiations but inside this place……. they need to know that those tactic’s are not the catholic way. 

Need less to say………we got in and the people in line were gracious about it.  I hope they all got a chance to see it.

 

 

In the end…………it was a very emotional experience the family and I will never forget. 

 

 

Do I feel guilty that I don’t attend Sunday mass like I used to?………sure.

 

But God knows of my plight……..He knows that Julie and I work hard to give our kids the best that we can provide.

And if I have learned anything in life from my wife of 18 years…..it is this………

 

“The church of good deeds”…… will always trump…….Mass on Sunday”

 

Its how we treat each others as humans…….the role model we should be to our kids,…. morals,…. values……it how we live our life……………..Thanking God for everything that he has given us……………

 

People on the web often are mad at God for this stupid MonSter of a disease.

 

I have never looked at it that way. He’s never given me something I couldn’t handle.

 

I can’t blame God,………that has otherwise….made my life a thing of beauty.

 

When I pray……I first always thank God for everything and only ask for the strengh to handle all this and provide for my family.

 

Come to think of it………..he’s always delivered on those prayers.

 

Works for me.

 

Be well,

Todd

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Next stop was the “Wailing wall”

Parking in old Jerusalem is a premium and apparently our driver convinced the man at the gate that I was the CEO of NBC.  Crazy……but it worked…..and we got to park inside… 50 yards from the wall.  Only about 15 parking spaces.  After another security check we would spend the next 5 hours inside the gate.

 The guide was starting to earn his money.

Nice park job.......this will do

Nice park job.......this will do

After putting the paper prayers in the wall Nate and I went inside to the air conditioned portion of the wall where the “boy’s in black” do some serious power prayer and wailing.

They teach from the “Torah” in there (Men shouting Hebrew teachings and prayers)……and it seemed like something from a movie except………this was real.

 For the next 5 hours the guide would wheel me around the city in the 95 deg. heat and some crazy,crowed, cobblestone steets. 

This is not the mall I'm used too.....

This is not the mall I'm used too.....

Julie and I looked at each other and said…………there is no way we could have ever seen all this w/out the guide.

 There was an English tour set to go of the underground city of David.  Again the “NBC CEO” and his family get to cut in line and tag along the tour.

 Muslims live in the city of David so it’s not acceptical for Jews to go there (I think)

 

I said to the guide that it’s very important that we see the Stations of the Cross. 

The “path of Jesus” is actually in the Arabic quarter of the city. 

Saving the best for last.

What I thought would be a trip of a lifetime for the kids…………turned out to be something Julie and I will never forget.

 

We rented a tour guide for a little site seeing in Jerusalem on our last day.  It was worth every penny.

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Our guide was Jewish……….and Julie and I would come to love him by the end of the day. There was no way that we could have seen a fraction of the stuff w/out him. He spoke Arabic, Hebrew, and perfect English. And he would be arguing with people all day with those tools.

 

Our trip started at the Holocaust Museum………..words cannot describe what I saw there……but I’ll try. 

First………no pictures. 

Second…..an architectural marvel.

 What you’ll see…. is something that no movie or Discovery/History Channel series could bring you. 

If you’ve read the diary of Ann Frank………….let me tell you…………..there are 20,000 + Ann Frank’s in there……….  Short stories that would rip your heart out. 

The German propaganda that is on display is unbelievable……leaving you thinking……….wow….how did the world just stand by. 

I could have spent two day’s in there and not even touch a quarter of the intrigue.

 

Again…..hmmmmmmm……….

 

“How could this have happened……….?”

 

Fear never looked so ugly.

 

 “And where was America in all this?” our young guide asked. 

I quickly reminded him that at that time in history……….the U.S. was not the superpower as it is today.  And also reminded him of how quickly that all changed. (the industrial revolution).

 I would have this running debate with our guide all day about the different cultures, values and moral’s.

 Are we really all that different…………some people need to open their minds.

 But in that atmosphere…….in that part of the world………..I can easily see why it is so difficult to do.

 

How these three cultures (Jews, Arabs,and Christians) all co-exist for the same piece of holy ground is beyond me.

outside the museum,  there is a tree planted for every gentile that helped a jew.

outside the museum, there is a tree planted for every gentile that helped a jew.

Some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen reside here.  (Niki…….you’d blend right in)

Young………….great shape………….who would have thunk it? 

Julie and I agree………….”Maybe this is the “Greece” of the east Mediteranian Sea”.

Beach boardwalk

Beach boardwalk

It is so crazy cool here………….the food is unbelieveable…….(they have perfectected the words “fresh vegetables” 

The food is so good that even the kids are trying new stuff every day. 

The Israeli’s do seem to stare a lot though. They stare as if they have never seen a handicap person before….I don’t really care…..but the wife get’s kind of bent out of shape. 

If only I could get out more(very hot today) ………….at least Julie and the kids are getting out.

 The place we are staying is perfect.  Nice cool Sea breeze…….and shade make the temperatures tolerable.  No real garbage on the streets, advertizing and we’ve been on a homeless person count since we’ve been here……….

We’ve maybe seen two bums in three days.

Poolside

Poolside

When you dine out………….they won’t bring you a bill………no matter how busy the place is…………odd I thought.  You have to ask for the bill. Something about this society in Isreal makes me wonder sometimes………….?

Values?…….are we (The U.S.) really that twisted in our proities.  Or our we just normal tourists.  Supposedly we been tipping to much?  According to an older Taxi driver man.

Hmmmmmmmm…………………………………….

Julie’s run this morning was short………even to hot for her.

So far so good. 

Be well

Todd

I had a hot date last night:

A “kosher” Micky “D’s”………… none the less.

I guess every flight from Israel is an international flight. 

And if there was any worry about safety………well…….we left it at the airport when we arrived. (Beautiful, huge, new, empty building)

 Security is huge here and the taxi ride to the hotel is no different.  The airport is controlled by the military (young kids) they escorted us all the way to the taxi and made sure that the taxi driver knew where we were going.

Taxi drivers are required to check in and out of the facility.

I think the culture shock hit the kids right then…………I don’t think there are speed limits here ( I didn’t see any signs )…………the taxi driver wasn’t talking and the middle eastern music was on in the car…………It was the first time that the kids had experienced being a foreigner.

I……of coarse ……….broke the ice……..because I could sence the wonder and a little worry, maybe…”where the hell are we?”………

After about 5-7 mins. of silence…………”what’s the city look like?”,..” what does it remind you of?”………… I ask.

The taxi driver didn’t know English and he wasn’t talking…….still the “gypsy” music on the radio.  We get into the city……..I make a comment to the kids about how things are so quiet probably because of the “Sabbath”

 

“BINGO..!!!!!”

 

“Yes”……..he says

 

The taxi driver then turned the radio station immediately…………..it was some old school Michael Jackson………….”and she says…….Why…Why……….tell em’ that its human nature…………..Why..…,Why, Why……dat..dat..dat……………

 He starts taping his hand on the steering wheel to the beat……….I start taping the dashboard.

 Kids start chuckling.

 Welcome to Israel Smalls