Servas Israel Tour – continued – Dinner with Servas Members and a Day in Jerusalem

On Friday, we met for dinner with our tour members and Servas Israeli hosts to mingle and share information about our countries.

On the way, we saw old armored vehicles along the road – preserved to remember the many who fought and died so that Jewish people could have a country.

Convoy vehicles from the Israeli War of Independence - 1948

Convoy vehicles from the Israeli War of Independence – 1948

According to “The Convoy Skeletons” by Gil Gertel & Noam Even,[T]he vehicles that brought food, water and arms from Tel Aviv to besieged Jerusalem in early 1948. . . were extremely vulnerable. Piles of stones were placed along the width of the road forcing the drivers to halt. Then snipers hidden between the rocks in the hills near the road, would open fire on the riders and vehicles.

Most of the trucks belonged to various kibbutz cooperative transport companies. Many of the drivers volunteered; the return trip was also via convoy. . . .

LESSER KNOWN FACTS
* During the battle for the road to Jerusalem, 230 convoys set out to bring supplies to the besieged city. . .

* Over 3100 trucks made their way to Jerusalem carrying 10,500 tons of supplies. . . .

* In February 1948 – 1299 trucks made the uphill trip to Jerusalem, in 81 convoys.

The armored vehicles symbolize the courage of those who guarded the convoys and who sacrificed their lives to bring supplies to the besieged city of Jerusalem. In the battles on the road to Jerusalem, more than 400 fighters were killed,

From: <http://www.gemsinisrael.com/e_article000003340.htm>.

Some of our Servas dinner companions: from the right - tagitxx, Sudeshna, Svetlana Pxx, Olga, xxx

Some of our Servas dinner companions: Svetlana P, Olga, Svetlana A.,  Sudeshna, and Tarit

Our Servas Israel hosts served great Middle Eastern food including hummus, wonderful olives, breads, . . .

Lola from Spain, Manda from Sweden, and Israeli Servas hosts.

Lola from Spain, Manda from Sweden, and Israeli Servas hosts

Israeli Servas host sharing his culture

Israeli Servas host sharing stories

Note all the flags:  each represents a Servas Israel Tour member.

Note all the flags: each represents a Servas Israel tour member.

Olga, Svetlana xx, Svetlana P, all from St. Petersburg xxx Russian

Olga, Svetlana P., and Svetlana A., all from St. Petersburg,  Russian

My favorite presentation was the one from Russia (and you will understand why).  The Russian women showed crafts and  gave a slide show about beautiful Lake Baikal, located in the south of Siberia.  We learned that Lake Baikal, which is about 25 million years old, is the largest (by volume) freshwater lake in the world; it  contains about 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water and at 1,642 m (5,387 ft), the deepest and among the clearest of all lakes.   It contains more water than all the U.S. Great Lakes combined!

Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two-thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world.  In 1996, Lake Baikal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   The temperatures are cool:  a winter minimum of −19 °C (−2 °F) to a summer maximum of 14 °C (57 °F).   Lake Baikal is very beautiful and a wonderful place to visit.

Olga giving the Lake Bakal presentation.

Olga giving the Lake Baikal presentation

Then the Russians ladies gave us typical Russian treats to eat and Lake Baikal water to drink.  When the bottle came around, I poured a cup for Manda and another for me.  I took a big gulp —- then I realized it wasn’t clear, cold Lake Baikal water, but another liquid for which Russia is famous: vodka!

For Manda, it was the first time she’d had alcohol in 20 years!  But no harm was done – and we all got plenty of laughs out of the presentation. We could see that Russians are fun-loving people.   Beware, however,  when a Russian offers you “water”!

Stepan from the Czech Republic played his violin for us - wonderful!

Stepan from the Czech Republic played his violin for us – wonderful – and how cute with his hat!

Sasha and Angelica from Belarus (where, among many other things, Russia sends its Olympic skaters for training)

Sasha and Angelica told us about Belarus (where, among many other things, Russia sends its Olympic skaters for training).  Their photos were spectacular.

Sudeshna sang for us - beautifully

Sudeshna sang for us – beautifully

Kashi Lal Sharma from Bhilwara,  India celebrated his 80th birthday on this trip - and shared experiences he's written about in his book.

Kasha Lal  from Bhilwara, India, celebrated his 80th birthday on this trip – and shared experiences he’s written about in his book

Servas Israel members and guests mingle - Anna from Germany on the right xx

Servas Israel members and guests mingle – Anna from Germany on the right

Friendly Israeli Servas hosts

Friendly Israeli Servas hosts

Pray for Jerusalem

Franco Collodet sharing his “Pray to Jerusalem” experience

Send Your Prayer to Jerusalem

Send Your Prayer to Jerusalem

Besides getting to know Servas members and learn about other countries, we also heard from Franco Collodet, an Italian sociologist and philosophy professor from the Institute Volterra-Elia of Ancona.

In several earlier pilgrimages, Franco Collodet has walked the roads of Europe — to Rome, Lourdes, Fatima, and Santiago de Compostela — tracing the ancient routes that arrive in major places of worship.  Collodet says he is inspired by integration among peoples.

In his latest pilgrimage, Collodet walked 4,100  kilometers (2,547.62 miles) from the Cathedral of Ancona in Italy to Jerusalem, arriving on Christmas 2014!   He shared highlights of his “Send Your Prayer to Jerusalem” experience.

Go to: <http://www.sendyourprayertojerusalem.org/index.php/franco>.

Servas members from Germany - Anna, Tomas, ulrike

Servas members from Germany – Gelinda, Thomas, Ulrike.  On the far right, Claudia from Israel with Adam from Poland behind her.

Servas hosts and tour members had a wonderful evening together.

Our following day tour was Christmas in Jerusalem. 

At 10:00 a.m., we met at Jaffa Gate of the Old City and viewed the walls surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem – a city of many faiths.   

Old City Jerusalem wall

Old City Jerusalem wall – bullet holes attest to the passion with which different groups want possession of this important religious city.

Modern entrepreneur outside the Old City walls

Modern entrepreneur – outside the Old City walls – note cell phone in hand 🙂

Inside the Old City walls: from left, Servas tour members: xxxx, Italy; xxxx, Germany; Roselee, Italy, & in foreground, Marilyn, U.K.

Inside the Old City walls: Servas tour members – Anna Maria from Italy; Ulrike from Germany; Rossella from Italy, & in foreground, Marilyn from the U.K.

Walls painted like this show the householder has been to Medina on a pilgrimage

Walls painted like this show the Muslim householder has been to Mecca and thus holds the honorific title of hajji.  The pilgrimage to Mecca is called the Hajj (or Hajji)

A good Muslim is to go at least once on a pilgrimage to Mecca xxxx

A good Muslim is to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.  Another Arab Israeli Muslim who lives here within the Old City Walls has done so.

Homes are hidden behind doors and walls within the Old City walls.

Homes are hidden behind doors and walls within  Old City Jerusalem.

Mazes xx of narrow walkways wind around inside the Old City walls of Jerusalem

Mazes of narrow walkways wind around inside the Old City Walls of Jerusalem

A young Jewish boy seems to point us on our way.

A young Jewish boy points us on our way.

A synagogue on the left, a mosque on the right within the Old City Jerusalem walls.  Igor from Russia and Gelindaxxx from Germay xxx

A synagogue on the left, a mosque on the right within the Old City Jerusalem walls. Igor from Russia and Gelinde from Germany

In some places within the walls, archeological digs reveal previous civilizations in the Old City Jerusalem

In some places, archeological digs reveal previous civilizations in Old City Jerusalem

We walked to the Christian Quarter and saw the Franciscan Church of ST. SAVIOUR- St Salvador, a beautiful Italian style church decorated for Christmas.

Inside the Christian xxx

Inside the Franciscan Church of St. Saviour – St. Salvador

Christmas decorated altar at the xxxx

Christmas decorated altar at St. Saviour/St. Salvador

 

 

The Crypt of the Basilica marks the place where after the Resurrection of Jesus, Mary lived and died.

The Church of the Schepuche

The Church of the Sepulcher

Churches from many parts of the world decorate an altar within the Church of the Scelpacure.

Churches from many parts of the world dedicate  an altar within the Church of the Sepulcher

Christmas in Jerusalem

Christmas in Jerusalem

At the heart of the Christian quarter,  The Church of the Holy Sepulcher honors the site where Jesus was crucified, buried, and arose.  The Stations of the Cross end here.

Entering the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Entering the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Painting within The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Painting within The Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The site of the tomb of Jesus

The site of the tomb of Jesus

Israeli tour guide Nir xxx

Israeli tour guide Nir Oral – sharing the facts

Pilgrims in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Pilgrims in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

At the tomb of Jesus

At the tomb of Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crypts within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Because this church is controlled by three religious groups, they have yet to agree on how to restore this area that suffered a fire.

Crypts within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

 

 

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is controlled by – the Greek Orthodox, who own its central worship space, the Catholics,  and the Armenian Orthodox.   The three groups have yet to agree on how to restore the crypt area damaged by fire.

We also visited the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.

May Peace Prevail on Earth

May Peace Prevail on Earth

Mt. Zion - important capture in the Israeli War of Independence - 1948

On Mt. Zion – an important capture in the Israeli War of Independence in 1948

Modern Israeli

Modern religious Israeli walk along the Old City Walls.

The Jewish Quarter within the wall of Old City Jerusalem.

The Jewish Quarter within the walls of Old City Jerusalem.

We walked then through the Jewish Quarter of narrow alleys to visit at the Wailing Wall and then climbed up to Mt.  Zion.

Some Jewish people do live within the Old City Walls.

Some Jewish people do live within the Old City Walls.

Pizza and yamakas xxx near the Wailing Wall inside the Old City walls.

Near the Wailing Wall inside the Old City walls: pizza and kippah (or yarmulkes), the head coverings that Jewish men wear to indicate that God is present above them.

Young Israeli soldiers on a field trip near the Wailing Wall.

Young Israeli soldiers near the Wailing Wall.

Protected minora  xx near the Wailing Wall -

Protected menorah near the Wailing Wall

Nir, our great Israeli Servas guide, explaining the  history of Jerusalem

Nir, our great Israeli Servas guide, explaining the history of Jerusalem

The Wailing Wall - a wall from the Jewish 2nd Temple that was destroyed in xxxx.  The dome of the Rock, the Muslim temple gleams in the background as well a minaret on the left.  xxx

The Wailing Wall – the wall from the Jewish 2nd Temple –  destroyed in 66 CE. The Dome of the Rock, the Muslim temple, shines in the background

The Muslim shrine located on the Temple Mount within the Old City Walls of Jerusalem, The Dome of the Rock, is considered by some the “most recognized of Jerusalem’s landmarks.” It was first completed in 691 CE.

The site’s great religious significance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims stems from religious traditions regarding the rock, the Foundation Stone, at the heart of The Dome of the Rock.

Although the Israelis captured the Dome of the Rock in 1967 during the Six-Day War, the country gave the Muslims authority to manage the Temple Mount to “keep the peace.”

In 1993, King Hussein of Jordan donated $8.2 million to refurbish the dome with 80 kilograms of gold!  No wonder it glows in the sun.

Then we walked on to visit The Last Supper Room.

Within the Room of the Last Supper

Within the Room of the Last Supper

Within the room where Jesus and the disciples celebrated Passover - the Last Supper.

Within the room where Jesus and the disciples celebrated Passover – the Last Supper.

And we saw Dormition Abbey – a golden, highly decorated church that contains the tomb of the Virgin Mary.

Mary's Tomb

Mary’s Tomb

In the Doxxx Abbey

In Dormition Abbey

 

Jerusalem - important to Christians, Muslims, and Jews

Jerusalem – important to Christians, Muslims, and Jews

We walked again along the walls of Old City Jerusalem back to the Jaffa Gate  – to end another wonderful day full of history and religion and new friends.

Aloha & Shalom,

Renée

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: