Friday, August 23, 2013

Home Sweet Home

It definitely felt like coming home when we got back to Jerusalem after about 2 weeks in Galilee.

And all semester our professors had been telling us that we would be a lot less busy with school and homework during summer term (v. spring term). After Galilee, that was finally true! We had a ton more free time during our last few weeks, which was really fun.

One of the first things I did after the Galilee trip was go to the Israel Museum. I'm glad I went at the end of the summer, because what I saw there was actually meaningful to me. There were artifacts from pretty much every archeological site we went to. We also saw a ton of things that we learned about in our Ancient Near East class.

Before you go into the main part of the museum, there's a model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period. Now that we know the city pretty well, we could pick out where everything was. Here's me with Herod's Temple!



Also outside of the main museum is the 'Shrine of the Book.' It's an exhibit of the Dead Sea scrolls. The outside of the building is designed to look like the lids of the jars that the scrolls were found in. Most of the building is underground.


One of the best things inside the museum was seeing Herod the Great's bathtub. That's almost as cool as when I saw a hair from Muhammad's beard in Istanbul. Almost, but not quite. Besides all of the archeology stuff, there was a cool modern art museum. I don't usually like modern art, but this one was really cool!

There's a garden outside the museum where I found this awesome sculpture:



It's the equivalent of the Philadelphia 'LOVE' sculpture. Ahava means love in Hebrew! It's cooler when you can actually read it, like I can :)

The Israel Museum was great! Even though it involved archeology! And afterwards I got to go to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum) for a third time. That's my all-time favorite museum, so this was a pretty successful museum day.

The next day (or something close to that), we stopped at the Temple Institute. It's run by a group of VERY religious Jews who are committed to rebuilding the temple. Herod's Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.; so it's been a very long time since Jews have had a temple. 

For this group of people, it's clearly very important that they have a temple again someday. They're devoted to being ready in case they ever have an opportunity to have a temple again. Of course, they want it to be where the original temple was (which is where Dome of the Rock is now). So that's a bit of a touchy subject. They're not advocating destroying the Muslim holy sites (that would start WWIII...). I think it's more like "We'll be ready if we ever have an opportunity to do this!". That's, you know, just a bit unlikely. Because Muslims have been super great at voluntarily giving up territory in the past. Not. But they can dream, right?

The organization has been working on building all of the furnishings for the temple according to the Old Testament. So one of the coolest parts of the tour was seeing pretty much exactly what Herod's Temple would have looked like. They even made all of the clothes that priests would wear.

Here's the menorah (they had 2: one outside and one inside).


Another great part of the tour was when the tour guide said they know where the Ark of the Covenant is. Okay. Just so you know, guys, it's buried underneath Dome of the Rock.

Also, I really enjoyed this book that I found in the gift shop.



Please refer back to this picture when I post the one of me with the Israeli soldiers :)

Anyways, this tour was fascinating even though the Temple Institute people are a bit odd and politically controversial. It was cool to see how much they long for another temple, and to see what Herod's Temple looked like! I love free days in Jerusalem!

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