Leaving Israel

We decided to spend our last two days in Israel back in Jerusalem at our new friend Janice’s place. We figured that we already knew the area, had an idea of how the buses worked and we really liked our visits with Janice and her family. If you recall, last time we were here, Janice’s youngest son Boaz was living with her. He is a very passionate young man and has now taken a NGO job up in Nazareth helping young people. From what we know of him, he will do very well at this. Today we had an opportunity to spend a few hours with Janice’s older son Hanan who is an opera singer. We sat around the living room doing some singing and then talked more about Jewish tradition and history. Another wonderful young man and we are again so happy for the chance to spend time with real people.

We have enjoyed our time in the Holy Land and we are amazed at how much we have seen and done during these last 17 days. We explored the Old City of Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. We floated in the Dead Sea and walked the ruins of Masada. We spent Christmas Eve in Bethlehem and walked in Jesus’ footsteps in Nazareth and along the Sea of Galilee. We wandered through the ancient Crusader city of Acre.  We experienced the quietness and reverence of a Shabbat and know that we want to take that feeling home with us. We learned a lot about the politics of this country and realize that there are no easy answers to bringing a forever peace. We discovered that we can navigate throughout a country that has very little English, thanks to the kindness of strangers and a lot of help from Google Maps!

We leave tomorrow for Athens, Greece and though we are excited to be moving into Europe and discovering new things, we would be lying if we said that Israel has not had an effect on us. Ever since my Gran gave me the book “In His Master’s Footsteps” when I was a young girl, I have wanted to walk in these holy places. And as Richard said in an earlier post, to walk the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem has always been on his bucket list. We have now trekked through the places of our dreams and find that we can only begin to appreciate the spirituality and perseverance of all those that have gone before. We are content.  Shalom…..

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