Monday, October 12, 2009

Super Busy Week

But it always seems to be like that the closer we get to going home time.  

Israel has been celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot.  We are incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be in Israel during this time.  The Jews build booths or Sukkots and for one week live in them - some even sleep in theirs.  They can be incredibly fancy or just a simple tent in the yard.  They do this as they reflect back on that time when their nation came out of Egypt and lived in tents in the wilderness for 40 years.  It is a joyful time with singing, street parties (yes we went to several - I told you it was a busy week!), and much celebration.

There are even booths at restaurants, the city hall (largest in Jerusalem), and at the Western Wall.  The Jewish men go to the Western Wall and wave branches of 3 different trees tied together as they pray. 

On the way to the Wall.  Not sure who the guy is in the middle - but he was someone important.

Gathering at the Wall

3 Species of trees and the citron (lemon)

The largest Sukkot at the Wall and people eating inside.
Family Sukkot on the roof of their house.

And hovering right over the Western Wall, where the Temple once stood, the Moslem Mosque of the Dome of the Rock.

Many areas of the Old City are beautiful

75,000 people from all over the world marched in a parade this past week to honor Israel.  Basicly, they just said "Hey Israel!  We love you!"  It was pretty awesome and a joy to behold.  We are glad we were off and could attend.

Yep!  Military recruits - Kids... but they grow up to look like the next picture

You have to be crazy to mess with Israeli soldiers!

The strongest ally and friend that Israel has - the SIGN not the flag!

The Lion of Judah!  Israel's only hope...

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Can you spell Road Trip?

We drove up to Netanya on the beach on our day off this week and just spent the day with our Brit Friends hanging out.  We walked on the beach, laughed, spent time walking around Netanya, had lunch at a Chinese Restaurant, shopped and had ice cream cones to conclude our day.  Lovely day off for each of us.

Beach Bunnies?  Judy and Mavis

Israeli Gym on the Beach

Ready to hit the Beach?

This couple was setting up their Succot (booth) on their front lawn.
They will eat their meals here this week as they remember
wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.

inside the Succot

These girls were celebrating a birthday.
Torrey?  Grammy?
Somebody needs to celebrate their birthday in the same way...

Al making friends as usual!

The beach is drop dead gorgeous and we decided that we would go back sometime, when we had time, and spend the night.


NO, I (al) am not the one doing the Kite Surfing... or whatever ... the man was crazy!  

An awesome day on an awesome beach with awesome friends in an awesome land ... what could be better?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Yom Kippur


You are probably wondering why we would took pictures of  empty streets (no traffic).  These were taken on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).  Everything shuts down on the Jewish side of Jerusalem.  There is no traffic except emergency vehicles, no phone, TV or radio service.  The shops are all closed.  Those who are at all religious fast.  It is a solemn day dedicated to thinking about God.  in Leviticus, it is a day to afflict one's soul.  A sacrifice was made of a goat for the sins of Israel on this day until the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.  Today Jewish people believe your fate for the next year is sealed on this day based on past acts.

We did not imagine this would be one of our favorite feasts but it is.  It made us think about and be thankful for Jesus' atonement for our sins and the fact that our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  I am glad it is not based on what we do or have done but on Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God Who paid our sin debt on the Cross.  What peace and freedom that gives!

Can you imagine a day in the United States when all traffic, TV radio, shops, restaurants were closed?  Can you imagine a day when even secular people thought about God even if it was to recognize why everything was closed?  For us it was a day of great peace and overwhelming gratefulness to God.  What a thrill to be in Israel now.  We went to a Synagogue for one of the five services that people go to on this day.  Imagine going to church five times in one day! 

Shalom from Jerusalem!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Botanical Gardens in Jerusalem

Our visit to the Botanical Gardens was a bit of a bust.  Not that many flowers blooming (wrong time of the year).  Some pretty flowers.  Just not very many.  It must be gorgeous in the Spring and we will go back next Spring.

But we had fun anyway.  Moved on over to the Bible Lands Museum.  That was our favorite for the day but we could not take pictures in side.  (sorry)  You will have to take our word for it that it is a "must see" and come visit us when you do!

We enjoy our days off, love to be able to visit different places in Israel and look forward to each new day with anticipation.  We look forward to what God has in store for us each day.

We have been officially invited to return to Israel (we knew we would be just didn't know the dates) February 9th - May 6th 2010.  That will put us here for Easter - a dream come true!