Jerusalem, If I Forget You…

2 Aug

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I’ve been back from my Israel trip for two weeks now, and I still can’t get it out of my head.  Maybe it’s because Israel is in my blood… my Dad was born there, and when I stepped off the plane in Tel Aviv part of me really felt like I was coming home.  At any rate, I’m not over it yet.  I’ve had dreams about Israel–people I met there, places I visited, conversations I had–almost every night since I’ve been home.  This tells me that my mind and my heart are still processing everything on the deepest level. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been listening to Matisyahu…a lot. 

During my ten days in Israel, I:

Swam in the Mediterranean Sea…

Drank a Goldstar beer on the sand at a beach bar in Tel Aviv, where I discussed Buddhism with a Kiwi (New Zealander) named Joey….

Rafted on the Jordan River (while trying not to breathe in the mildewy B.O. stench of my loner life vest)…

Sailed on the Sea of Galilee while dancing around a drum circle to an Israeli folk song about peace coming upon us all…

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Hiked for four hours in and out of a gorge in northern Israel, taking a break to swim in an icy pool fed by a rushing waterfall…

Examined 2000-year old, newly excavated mosaics in the ancient village of Zippori…

Gazed upon Syria from an Israeli bunker in the Golan Heights (and also, incidentally, fell off of a railing and almost rolled down a dirt hill into a barbed wire fence which I think may have been the international border between the two countries)…

Bought mezzuzahs and jewelry and listened to a lecture on Kabbalah in the “mystical” city of Tzfat…

Explored the ocean grottos in Rosh-Hanikrah near the border of Lebanon…

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Met and befriended (and danced with) Israeli peers serving in the Israel Defense Forces…

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Sloshed through ankle-deep water and pitch darkness as I made my way through the impossibly narrow and impossibly ancient tunnel originally built by the Canaanites in around the 18th – 15th centuries BCE…

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Deposited prayers in the cracks of the Western [Wailing] Wall…

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Hiked up the Snake Path to Masada at 4 in the morning and watched the sun rise over the Dead Sea…

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Stood under a waterfall in En Gedi, where David hid in the caves from Saul…

Floated in the Dead Sea, trying to ignore the smell of sulfur burning my nostrils and the salty water burning the scrape on my side…

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Rode a camel with the personality of a French film star…

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Saw a scorpion in real life…

Slept under the stars in the Negev desert (and peed in a bush there too…it was a big accomplishment for me!)…

Had a juicy peach pit splat on my arm after apparently being chucked across the crowded marketplace in Jerusalem.  Unsavory!

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Welcomed Shabbat at the Kotel and watched others welcome it by singing, praying, and dancing.  We danced a little, too…

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Then I danced some more…like a maniac, in a club in Jerusalem until 5 am…

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Toured Yad Vashem, the biggest Holocaust museum in the world…

Partied with 5,000 other Jews, ages 18 – 26, from all over the world at the Birthright Mega Event in Jerusalem…

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Haggled over prices of dusty jewelry in a flea market in Jaffa, which reminded me of the movie Aladdin so much I was waiting for a snaggle-toothed vendor to jump out at me peddling a dusty magic lamp…

And, I ate my weight in hummus, schwarma, and falafel…

I’m sure you really cared about all of that, but I just had to write it.  On top of all of those experiences, I met some amazing people and will always carry some of those conversations and good times in my heart.  Israel meant so much to me on so many levels: I’m a Christian and it was where my Savior walked and lived and taught and died and rose again.  I’m Israeli, and it’s where my dad was born and the homeland of the Jewish people, where my grandmother sought refuge after living a nightmare in the Holocaust.  I’m a Biblical Studies major, and that’s where it all went down. 

All I have to say, to so many people, and to my God: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

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4 Responses to “Jerusalem, If I Forget You…”

  1. Paul Johnson August 15, 2007 at 10:47 pm #

    Hey Joy,
    That is what would definately be considered AMAZING! It sounds, and looks, like you had an amazing trip. Your pictures and commentary are great. The picture with you hiking through that tunell with the water in it is really neat (in fact I am quite jealous at the moment sitting here at the computer). Anyways….It looks like you had a great trip and I am happy for you.
    -PJ

    Like

  2. Sarah May 6, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    Joy I loved reading this reminder of our amazing trip! Makes me want to go back so bad!

    Like

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