January 21st, 2016

First day of school

Walking tour in Jerusalem...

Written by Mom:
Let's start with a joke:
A rabbi is visiting the Pope in Vatican City when he notices a golden telephone on a table decked with red velvet. The rabbi asks, "What is the purpose of the phone?"
The Pope answers, "It's our direct line to God."
The rabbi asks, "May I use it?"
The Pope answers, "Sure, but it costs half a million dollars a minute, as God is so far away." So the rabbi makes a quick call to God.
A few months later, the Pope is in Jerusalem visiting the rabbi. While walking around the temple, the Pope sees a phone almost identical to the one he has, and sure enough, it's a direct line to God. The Pope asks to use it, and the rabbi says, "Sure, and it only costs ten cents a minute."
The Pope asks, "Why so cheap?"
The rabbi replies, "We have a direct line."

And now you understand the old city of Jerusalem: All major religions are represented and they all feel they have a direct line to God.

The old city -- only one mile square-- is divided into four sections: Jewish section, Muslim section, Christian section, Armenian section. However, there is some intermingling, as some Muslims live in the Arab section, etc. it is very clear, though, who lives where.

The Western Wall
Probably the safest place in the world, and not the last wall of the second temple, as I thought. No, the Western Wall is actually a retaining wall. Also, the magnificent visitors' plaza (with a movie) was funded by the Davidson family, which tickled me because King David, of course, was the first real king of the Jews. A bar mitzvah was going on while we visited and the joyous music and dancing provided a happy backdrop to all the prayer. And yes, Sammi and I did write prayers and put then in cracks in the wall, but King Herod's men built the wall so well that there's not a lot of room for notes...and there's a lot of notes, let me tell you. What happens when they overflow? The rabbis bury them.

Jerusalem bagel
....is the size of a bracelet for Paul Bunyan, if he had a desire to decorate himself with an oval sesame seed bagel. Hey, it might catch on. At the very least, it will easily feed a family of four.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the room where the Last Supper took place, etc. All fascinating, especially the church because half is Greek and half is Catholic. The Greeks win, hands down, on church decor, as heaps of glittering silver, ruby red, and gold adorn every surface. Lots of candles, too.

Great weather, 60s and sunny. Perfect day to be outside.