Heading to Jerusalem

Posted by Kathy Jenkins on

We started our day with a Shabbat breakfast which meant that no one was cooking breakfast so only hard boiled eggs and we couldn't use the push button for the espresso machine.  However there was still plenty of food on the buffet.  None of us will come home having lost weight.

We then began driving away from the beautiful Sea of Galilee  to the highway running along the border between Israel and Jordan.  We passed many fields and our guide told us about some of the innovations that Israelis's have made in figuring out to make this dessert bloom.  They have mastered drip irrigation, learned that donkeys wandering under the date palms clean out the weeds without pesticides, put nesting boxes in the fields for barn owls to control mice and other varmints and bumble bees to help the honey bees pollinate.

 

We crossed into the West Bank territory for our stop at Jericho which is the oldest city on earth and also one of the lowest.  Our visit was mainly shopping for Phoenician glassware, dead sea cosmetics, dried fruits and pottery.  We also visited a very nice camel who gave some ladies kisses and also a few people took rides. 

The amazing fortress of  Masada was next where Herod built a palace which is on a large flat topped sheer sided mountain.  However it is famous because of the Jewish zealots who retreated there in the Jewish rebellion against the Romans in 73 CE.  About 960 men, women and children lived up there for 3 years while the Roman legions besieged them below.  When the Romans finally breached the fortress with their battering ram and fire, they found that all of the Jews were dead either having been killed by family members or having committed suicide rather than being taken into slavery by the Romans.  The Israelis say that Masada shall never fall again.

Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in a cave was next.  We learned about the Jewish Sect that lived there during the the time just before and shortly after the time of Jesus who retreated from the world to purify themselves for the battle of good against evil that they believed was about to happen.  They copied many of sacred books of the Hebrew Bible by hand which were then hidden in large jars in the caves probably to keep them safe from the Romans. 

Our last  adventure of the day was  a swim in the Dead Sea.  Not everyone chose to participate but those who did found it a very unique experience being able to float like you are sitting in a lounge chair with no effort.

The day ended with our bus ride into Jerusalem to our hotel for the remainder of our trip.  

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