Monday, January 31, 2011


And now, dear readers, we have come to the end of this epic blogging journey. Thank you for sticking with us through the sun, the miles, and the wondrous food of Jerusalem. We're still processing everything that just happened; even though it's all fresh, figuring out what we really think about the past few weeks will probably take weeks or months.

But for now, we're back in the US, properly jetlagged.

-Will (with no help from Jenni)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

flight now 4 hours, 30 minutes late.

We should be leaving today at 15:45. New arrival time: 9:10. The holdup, apparently, was the plane from Newark, but now that it's inbound, we're hopeful the above time will stick.


Flight cancelled due to weather in NYC. Now arriving in Newark at 4:40 PM TOMORROW (leaving Tel Aviv at 11 AM-ish). Those continuing to Williamstown will arrive late Friday night. We should be fine sleeping-wise, but this logistic kerfluffle is going to make things a little complicated for a few of us.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We've been busy--a few more pictures!

Sorry we haven't posted much! We've been walking all over the city and are pretty tired. Here are a few highlights of the last couple days.

The group at the Ophel Excavations at the South end of the Western Wall. 

On Sunday night, we went to a concert at Brigham Young University at Mt. Scopus. The concert hall overlooks the old city. 

We huddled after the was a little chilly. Jenni is a little hidden/comfortable.

The Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem (The Shoah memorial and museum)

The view upon exiting the museum at Yad Vashem.

Robert drew this picture in his journal, which we stole and photographed. The domes with the crosses are the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the view from the roof of Ecce Homo.

We've come up with a few new names for the trip:
- Jerusalem: One city, two peoples, three faiths, many cats
- Bob, you're ringing!
- Somebody alert Will
- Please come in! Jesus ate falafel here! 
               (falafel can be substituted with pizza)
- Jerusalem: If there is a hill, we will climb it

Hopefully we'll convince others to post more before we leave! 

---posted by Rachel and Jenni, 5:40 pm on Tuesday in Jerusalem

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Sabbath Day

After going to a synagogue last night and being hosted for wonderful dinners by its various members to the south of the Old City, we are granted a few hours of peace today, until a concert tonight after sundown. Some of us are still sleeping; others have gone outside of the Old City in search of musical synagogues or markets. I and some others may spend some time simply wandering (it's hard to get too lost when you are surrounded by walls) but I'm not sure yet.

But above all else, this is the day with space - to exist, to reflect, and to grow. For me, that means blogging, but all of us are keeping journals of this experience. The theme of the group's shared reflections, if I can come close to summarizing, is that our time has mainly raised more questions than answers - that each new experience reminds us of how little we know and knew. For now, though, we breathe.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some Snapshots--Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Our group in front of the Dome of the Rock. We visited again on Wednesday with our tour guide, Ali (you'll see him in another picture). Ali talked to us a lot about the asymmetry of Islamic architecture. It seems to also be a characteristic of his photography. 

Wednesday night we went to the Western wall tunnels. Bob said that he could bench press some of the stones. We were so tired that Ben couldn't tell where one stone ended and the other one began. 

Tunnels again!

Wednesday again, at the Dome of the Rock. 

Also Wednesday. This is Ali, our guide. This was an Ottoman well. 

Rugelach at Marzipan, a delicious bakery in the souk. We ate lots of these. Then some girls from New Jersey were very impressed with Robert's knowledge of Hebrew. And some Israeli boys were, too. He would like me to include that he got a discount as a result of his impressive Hebrew. 

---Photos/Captions courtesy of Rachel, Ben, and Robert

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Our days have settled into something of a rhythm:
  • Wake at 6:00-8:00 (later each day)
  • Breakfast from 7 until 8:30
  • 8:30 - into the field until lunch at some falafel place
  • an afternoon session
  • dinner at Ecce Homo at 7, then an evening activity.
Though there are seders and other events that interrupt the flow, we are mostly going for 12 hours a day, with an hour or two break for napping or journal-writing. (My journal is here.) Yesterday, for example, after being promised we would never repeat the Ecce Homo-Western Wall-Temple Mount-Lion's Gate-Mount of Olives-Dung Gate-Church of the Holy Sepulcher-Jewsih Quarter-Ecce Homo-45 minute walk to the Seder and back, we went only to the Mount with Ali, the Muslim Quarter, Home, then the Christian Quarter with Hanna.

The silliest part, though, was that after dinner, we went to the Western Wall, and then took a tour of the Western Wall tunnels, which actually butt up against Ecce Homo. However, because the exit from them on the north side of the city isn't used at night, we then had to walk all the way back to the Ecce Homo underground.

For me, the Western Wall tunnels were an amazing experience, showing how deep this city actually is.