We had a well deserved beach afternoon in Tel Aviv. The kids made sand donut holes and sand art.
Jesse and I took little naps then watched people. The first photo is of Muslim women- a grandmother, mother and daughter. From what I have learned – some Muslims believe that Muslim women should be fully covered starting when they reach puberty so as not to attract the attention of men. Sometimes this is the woman’s choice and sometimes a dominant male figure makes the decision for her. In some places we visited, women were completely covered- with not even the eyes showing. I don’t want to go off on a tangent with this, but this does make me think of women as being property in some instances. Are we suppose to believe that all men can’t control themselves when they see a woman’s hair, ankle or shoulder? What about when a father withholds the right to an education from his daughter in the name of religion? The more it’s in my face, the more I wonder how much power (if any) some of these women have to make their own decisions.
Here are some photos of our “accomodations” at the Tel Aviv airport. Looks like Emerson is dreaming of being back in Cairo with the mummies!
This arrangement provided much more legroom than we had the night before- we had to sleep in a car in Jerusalem (long story.) The next day we found a public bathroom to freshen up in. You can see in some of the photos taken in Jerusalem and Bethlehem- we are looking worse than usual (didn’t know that was possible.) ha!
We stopped to eat some pita and hummus on a cobblestone street in Jerusalem. We set out a sarong and made it like a nice little picnic. We were taking in the whole scene- there were people on once in a lifetime pilgrimages and there were others bartering with shopkeepers. All of a sudden, a boy on a bike whips around a corner and almost runs into a lady outside of a store in front of us. She screeches (extremely loud) “Jesus Christ, you Jackass!!!” I started laughing like crazy. I know I’ve been to that point on this trip- when reserves are low, and I’m hungry and tired, but I am proud to say that I haven’t lost it like that….at least not yet. There are crucifixes everywhere, people are praying, some are crying tears of joy because they’ve made it to this holy place, the spot where Jesus was crucified is, literally, 100 feet away and this woman just screamed at the top of her lungs “Jesus Christ!” I would not have been surprised if people’s ears started to bleed! I don’t know why, but I live for stuff like that- those awkward, weird, raw spurts of unedited emotion where everyone witnessing the exchange becomes part of the moment.
I also loved that she used the word ‘jackass.’ It is a word I don’t hear very often, but when it is well placed- it is pure comedy gold!
No one told us there was a side for women and a side for men. I was touching the wall for men. A guy came up to Jesse and said that he didn’t mind, but others would. We looked over at the women’s side and it was jam packed. Lucky for me that I am clueless a majority of the time!
Many people put notes in the cracks of the Western Wall. The little slips of paper contain written prayers to God. Over a million notes are placed there each year. The notes are collected twice a year and buried on the nearby Mount of Olives.
Maddux had drawn a little picture of the world in the beginning of the trip. I stuck it in my backpack and always carried it around with me. We decided to make a wish for peace, love and fun and hope for the best!
Quick history lesson. This information was taken from a website about holy sites in the world.
“The Wailing Wall or Western Wall is in Jerusalem and is believed by many people to be the remains of one wall of a great Jewish temple or the wall surrounding the temple’s courtyard. It is a stone wall that extends about 62 feet (18.9 m) above the ground. The wall is considered to be a sacred site by Jews, and thousands of people make pilgrimages there each year. It also is a source of much dispute regarding its true history as well as a source of contention among Jews and Muslims, who consider it to be part of an ancient mosque or the wall to which the seventh-century Islamic prophet Muhammad tied his winged steed during his Night Journey.
Jews and many other people consider the wall to have been part of a Jewish temple, also called the Second Temple, which stood for hundreds of years. King Herod ordered a renovation and expansion of the temple in about 19 B.C., and the work was not finished until about 50 years later. This temple was destroyed by Romans in about 70 A.D., only a few years after its completion. The Wailing Wall is widely believed to be the only part still standing.
After the temple was destroyed, many Jews began going to the wall to mourn the temple’s destruction and to pray. The name Wailing Wall was ascribed to the site by non-Jews who saw the Jews mourning there. Jews actually refer to the wall as the Western Wall, or Kotel HaMaaravi in Hebrew.
Many Muslims believe that the wall has no relation to ancient Judaism. They refer to the wall as the Al-Buraq Wall, a reference to Al-Buraq, the winged steed that Muhammad is said to have ridden. Muslims believe that Muhammad tied Al-Buraq to the wall while he ascended to heaven to speak with God. Many Muslims also believe that the wall was part of the ancient Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that Jews did not begin praying at the wall until at least the 16th century, if not much later.”