Friday, July 07, 2006

Home again

Home again home again jiggity jog. This is what my Mamaw Holland would always say when she arrived home from a trip. * It is good to be back where life is comfortable and easy. (I had to show my passport at approximately ten different security checkpoints before I was able to board the plane in Tel Aviv.) I was in a jetlagged lethargy most of yesterday, but am feeling better today. * Am headed to the Walterses' to babysit my sweet grandbaby while Summer does some interior design consulting. * Thanks to all readers for taking this trip with me. Thanks especially for your thoughts, prayers, and comments. Love, KP

Monday, July 03, 2006

Promoting Peace

Monday, 3 July. 7:21 p.m. Writing from a hostel in Tel Aviv. * This morning at 6:30 I decided to take one last walk through the narrow, serpentine lanes of Old City Jerusalem before catching a cab for Tel Aviv. Few people were out yet, so I expected it to be peaceful and nice. I was about half way to the north entrance of the West Wall when I passed two IDF soldiers going the other way. Following shortly after them were six Orthodox Jews wearing side ringlets, hats, and prayer shawls. They were carrying holy books. Perhaps they had been to the West Wall for an early prayer. Ahead of me I heard angry words. An Arab man on a trash collecting tractor and trailer had evidently turned in front of a Jewish man, part of the earlier group who had fallen behind. Quickly the men went from yelling to shoving. The Arab man jumped off his tractor in an angry, defiant manner and the two men started trading punches. I turned around and whistled loudly for the soldiers, then ran down to the men and jumped between them, yelling "No! No!" I got them seperated with strong pushes to each chest and then stood between them with arms extended until the soldiers ran down and took control. As they were checking ID's I picked up the Jewish man's glasses and handed them to him before they were stepped on. With the soldiers distracted by radioing identification information into headquarters the two men continued occasionally to trade insults. I gave the Jewish man the universal sign for "chill out"; two hands palms toward him with a raising of the eyebrows and a slight shake of the head. After awhile the soldiers headed up the street with the two men in custody. * I continued my walk and shortly saw an Arab man hiding behind a corner and pissing on the threshold through which the Jews must walk to get to the West Wall entrance. Thresholds are very important in the Jewish religion, and this man was making sure that each Jew who walked by must pass over his urine. Later, as I was riding out of the Old City through the Jaffa Gate, the last thing I saw was two policewomen stopping an old Arab woman and going through her bags. -There is a good deal of ill will and unrest here. * This afternoon I swam in the Medeterranian Sea. I have finished my responsibilities on the dig, and have done what I can to promote peace between the Arabs and Jews. I guess my work here is done. I fly back to the U.S. tomorrow.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Christ Church

Sunday, 12:40 p.m. I just came from a nice worship service at Christ Church. Built in the 1840's, it is the oldest Protestant church in Israel. Before going to church Jason and I walked to the Temple Mount. I touched the Western Wall, the holiest site in all of Judaism. We then climbed up to the Dome of the Rock, the third most holy site in Islam. This is the place from which Muhammad supposedly ascended to heaven. I took pictures and touched it also.* My time here in Jerusalem has been fascinating, but the fact that many places are disputed negates much of the excitement of seeing them. There are at least two places which claim to be the upper room where Jesus ate the last supper with his disciples. ((Interruption: there is a mosque near here, and I am now hearing the call to prayer.)) There is also a dispute as to the location of Golgatha. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is built on the traditional site. It is only two hundred yards from Jaffa Gate Hostel where I am staying, and where I am writing this. I plan to walk to that church as soon as I post this writing. * At church this morning we were only a few words into the first hymn when I got choked up and could no longer sing, because there are some things which are beyond dispute. Jesus loves me, and he loved this city. He was crucified and buried here so that I might know God and have eternal life. The tomb into which they put him could not hold him. And one day he is coming back. Awesome. I wish he would come back while I am here, but he will have to hurry because I leave tomorrow. Yo Gabriel, get out your horn. Time's a wasting.