A Visible Boundary

In my Sunday school class today we talked about Israel and Palestine, as this was my first Sunday in church since my trip. Because the question of distances between places came up, someone in the class looked up Israel on Google Earth. As a result, we all got to see something that one can see [Read More...]

Happy Super Towel Day!

I got back from my trip to Israel yesterday, just in time for Towel Day, in honor of Douglas Adams. Some are calling this “Super Towel Day” since 5+25+12=42. The trip had a couple of Douglas Adams moments or aspects, such as the fact that one of the books we all read together was A [Read More...]

Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Tel Aviv

We made it through passport control and customs at Tel Aviv airport, in what seems like record time. The early hour of the morning helped. So now I can blog about the day’s events.   We started off at the traditional site of the last supper, in what would have been the upper city of [Read More...]

The Importance of Language Learning Illustrated

This morning I had a useful illustration of why learning as much as you can of a language is important. This morning, I left my bag near my room as instructed and went to the elevator. A couple of bellboys passed and I heard one of them say a number in Hebrew. I was fortunate [Read More...]

Old City of Jerusalem

  Today most of our time was spent in the old city of Jerusalem. We started at the Kotel, the Western Wall or Wailing Wall, which is the last remaining wall of the second temple, i.e. the temple that was standing in Jesus’ time and which was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70. [Read More...]

From Bethlehem to Yad VaShem

Today was much less hectic than previous days. Baligh our tour director moved the museum visits to today (although in the end we only had time for one) so that we can have time tomorrow to go early in the morning when the line forms for those non-Muslims who wish to visit the temple mount, [Read More...]

Masada, the Dead Sea, and a Jeep Adventure (Including the Mar Saba Monastery!)

After the camel ride, our next stop was Masada, the mountaintop fortress near the Dead Sea which was created by the Hasmoneans, expanded and developed by Herod the Great, and occupied by Jewish fighters in the war against Rome.     From there, after having lunch, we traveled to the Dead Sea where the students [Read More...]

Jericho, Qumran and the Mount of Olives

This morning we traveled from Haifa across Galilee to the Jordan Valley. We entered the West Bank traveling southward along the Jordan river valley. The students were surprised at how imperceptible it was to cross the checkpoint – since we were in a tour bus with Israeli plates, we were simply waved through. Across the [Read More...]

Around Galilee

Today we visited sites that have some connection to the story of Jesus. Contrary to what some fringe internet voices such as the Jesus mythicists have sometimes claimed, there is evidence for habitation in Nazareth in the first century, in the structures excavated beneath the Church of the Annunciation. Even rather later, in the 4th [Read More...]

Two Nazarenes

Our tour guide Baligh’s local tour organization which EF works with is called “Nazarene Tours” because Baligh himself is from Nazareth. He made an amusing comment on the first day about the fact that he is more of a Nazarene than Jesus for two reasons: Jesus was born in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth for [Read More...]

Loquats, Olive Oil, and Tombs

What the three things mentioned in the title of this post have in common is my friend Eldad Keynan, who stopped by the hotel where I am staying in Haifa and spoke to my students as well as me. He brought me some fruit from his garden (sheseq, which a quick internet search informed me [Read More...]


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