Monday, August 13, 2007

Israel, Yerushalayim!

Our bus arrived in Jerusalem around 7AM local time (awake clock: 42 hours), and as we climbed the mountains west of the city, the stones changed from gray to gold.

We had trouble believing we were where we were: was that man walking his dog in Jerusalem?! Was this really a functioning city, with people heading to work?

Our bus stopped at a lookout, where we got our first glimpse of the skyline:

It might have been the awake clock edging toward hour 43, but many of us were struck dumb. That bird is in Jerusalem! This bug is in Jerusalem!

(The blog will get more intelligent, I promise)

We had a chance to pause for photo-ops:

And that, Fearless Reader, is yours truly. IN JERUSALEM.

Just outside religious neighborhoods (what, in America, would be called "Orthodox"), one very often sees signs like these, discussing religious matters and urging visitors to dress modestly.

The graffiti is written with vowels so that anyone may read it, regardless of their Hebrew abilities: it is believed that when all Jews chant this phrase simultaneously, the Messiah will come. It is written everywhere in Israel: spray-painted on walls, printed on bumper stickers and stuck on light poles.

A Jewish friend in America gave me these coins, tzdakah (charity), to give me purpose on my journey. There are tzdakah boxes everywhere in Jerusalem: it is one of the world's richest cities in terms of its culture, its history, but it is Israel's poorest economically.

I chose this box: it was the first one I saw, and how could I say no to this:

A holy alley cat! Cats are everywhere in Israel, as you will see later. In the next post: The shuk (street market) in Jerusalem.

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