Sunday, September 29, 2013

Jerusalem Fashion

From the first day I got to Jerusalem, I was fascinated by the clothes people wore! I know what you're's not that hard for me to be fascinated by clothes. But the fashion in Jerusalem was definitely unlike anything I'd ever seen before! I wanted to do a post about Jerusalem fashion, featuring the excellent stalker pictures I took of Jerusalemites this summer. A lot of them are awkward, blurry pictures of people's backs, but I promise they're still interesting. I promise that I'm not usually a stalker.

So one of the things I liked the most about Jerusalem fashion was what their clothes demonstrated about their culture and religious beliefs. And I loved the diversity of it. On any given street you walk down in the Old City, you'd probably see a monk, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, a lady in a burqa, and someone wearing shorts and a tank top within a minute.

I'm going to start with ultra-orthodox Jewish clothes. If you remember from the signs they post at the entrance to their neighborhoods, they take modesty very seriously.

Both men and women show zero skin except for hands and faces. And sometimes feet :)

I like how both men and women (and not JUST the women) are required to be modest. Other things you always see are women only wearing dark colors, and men only wearing black and white.

Men always cover their heads, and they wear sidecurls (peyot in Hebrew). Here's a Mitt Romney t-shirt I found in the Old City with a nice representation of peyot. But don't ask me to explain the shirt beyond that.

Most of these pictures I took right before Shabbat started. Everyone is dressed up and heading to the Western Wall. Some sects of ultra-Orthodox Judaism have special clothes for Shabbat. They wear what look like robes with fur hats. I enjoy it.

Another thing all Orthodox males wear are tzitzit, which are white fringes/string that hang down from their undershirts. The kids wear them too!

With all of the black and white, sometimes ultra-Orthodox Jews can look a bit like Mormon missionaries. We definitely did a double take when we saw these guys...

Some more cute children with peyot and tzitzit (you know you want to see more):

Orthodox Jews (that's without the ultra) have a lot of similarities to the ultra-Orthodox, but they dress much more modern.

For instance, they're more likely to wear a suit than a robe to the Western Wall.

Both ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox women cover their hair if they're married. Some women wear scarves, and some just wear wigs over their real hair.




For Orthodox (as opposed to ultra) the modesty rule is just covering the knees and elbows. Also, all Orthodox women tend to wear skirts at all times.

Orthodox teenagers:

And my last 'Jewish' picture. A cool prayer shawl:

So to summarize (because I feel like this is confusing...)- 
ultra-Orthodox Jews: dark colors, traditional styles, ankle-length and wrist-length. 
Orthodox Jews: more modern, knee-length and elbow-length. 
Both: men always have heads covered and wear tzittzit, married women cover hair, and women always wear skirts.

However, plot twist, not every Israeli Jew is some version of Orthodox. A huge percentage of Israelis aren't even religious at all. Jerusalem happens to be a very religious city compared to other places in Israel. In Tel Aviv everyone dresses just like typical Americans, with the occasional yarmulke thrown into the mix. But even in the Jewish side of Jerusalem, you'll see PLENTY of people dressed just like you would see in say, Wisconsin.

Yeah, this post is going to be super long. But now it's Muslim/Arab time!

In general, the Arab men I saw didn't dress any differently from men in the U.S. Once in a while, you'd see an older man wearing a dress/tunic (with pants underneath) type thing, especially during Ramadan.

At one of our hotels in Jordan, I saw this guy dressed pretty traditionally (tunic+keffiyeh scarf), and sitting with two women wearing FULL burqas.

It was one of the highlights of my Jordan trip that I got to observe how women eat while wearing those.

In Jerusalem, there were very, very few women wearing full burqas (as in- just the eyes poking out). I think that's usually reserved for more conservative countries like Saudi Arabia. I probably saw less than 5 women the whole summer who had their mouths covered. 

The two most common looks for Arab women in Jerusalem were abayas (very loose black dresses) and floor-length trench coats.

What I loved about the abayas was that they were always covered in either rhinestones or embroidery.

I cheated. This one's from National Geographic. Oops.

And I had no idea that floor-length trench coats would be such a thing over there. Actually, I didn't know they were a thing anywhere.

Lots of choices!

For most of the Arab women I saw, the modesty rule was being completely covered from neck to ankle.

I also saw some girls who wore head scarves with modern clothes (but still didn't show skin).

I took a picture of this girl because I appreciated her commitment to matching.

And I took a picture of this girl because her shirt was cute.

The Arab women had an awesome commitment to fashion. Their culture and religion have very strict modesty requirements, but they totally work with what they have. I saw things like lots of perfect matching, fancy stilettos, and designer purses. A lot of them also wear a TON of makeup.

Stilettos on the right:

It was pretty rare to see girls or women without headscarves. 

One night, we had an Arab Culture party at the Jerusalem Center and got in on the fun.

I bet you weren't expecting that, right?

Well, the fashion in Paris this week was pretty fun to see...but I don't think I can say it was as interesting as Jerusalem.

I miss you, Jerusalem!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

End of Dad's Trip, and Back to Wisconsin!

Well, I guess I should finish up these Jerusalem posts...SINCE I'M AT THE AIRPORT RIGHT NOW ABOUT TO LEAVE FOR FRANCE! And getting a little excited, haha. My month at home FLEW by! It seems surreal that I'm leaving on another adventure so soon.

So our last two days in Israel weren't quite as action-packed as the previous three. Since it was Saturday we went to church at the Jerusalem Center.

My dad enjoyed the amazing view from the auditorium, and I enjoyed getting to see the JC one last time and saying goodbye to some friends.

Then we checked out of our hotel, stored our luggage, and headed to Bethlehem for the afternoon! What better Sabbath day activity is there, really? Honestly, Bethlehem isn't the nicest place to visit, but being in Bethlehem, regardless of what it's like now, is worth it.

We went to Church of the Nativity, which claims to be built over the exact location of Christ's birth.

This is the door to get inside:

Two explanations I've heard about why it's so small are: A. so you have to humble yourself before you enter the church and B. so marauding knights on horses couldn't storm the church. Who knows, maybe both are true? :)


This is the oldest continuously operating church in the world (it's from the 500s). We waited in line to go down into the grotto where the stable/manger were supposed to be. In order to get down there, you have to be pushy, force your way through, and allow your personal bubble to be severely violated. So that was fun getting up close and personal with some Russians.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to Bethlehem with my dad was so he could experience being in the West Bank. It definitely has a different vibe than Israel. That's all I'll say about that...

Then we took a taxi back to Jerusalem and stopped by the King David hotel. It was the last thing on my checklist that I wanted to see, so I'm glad I made it! The King David is where the rich and famous stay in Jerusalem. Famous people that have stayed there sign the floor, so that was fun to look at.

After picking up our luggage, we said goodbye to Jerusalem :( and drove to Tel Aviv :). So many mixed emotions in that last sentence. 

We ended our day by watching the sunset over the Mediterranean.

Not a bad way to end the day!

The next day, Sunday, was even more relaxing. We slept in, had breakfast, and then spent the day alternating between swimming and laying on the beach. It was the perfect way to end my vacation in Israel. For dinner we had some falafel, then packed our bags and headed to the airport. 

Wow. Now that was the way to spend a summer. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Old City with Dad

To get to the Old City from our hotel, we walked through Mamilla Mall because it was faster. And then... a miracle happened. You see, I shop with my mom and sister a lot. But my dad's not really a shopper (that might be an exaggeration). The few times that we've been to a clothes store together, he's patiently waiting for us to be done. Usually on vacations, he just opts for a nap while we go shopping. But I guess Israel changes something about this dynamic, because already in the last two days he'd been to two malls and shopped in the Old City with me.

When we walked though Mamilla Mall on this day, it was his idea to go into a store. I think he was swayed by the name of the store- it was called Golf. But the clothes didn't have anything to do with golf. It was a really good store! I'd been admiring the clothes there during my summer in Israel- there are at least four Golfs in Jerusalem.

And then...we both tried clothes on and found something we liked. He bought shorts, and I got a shirt. Who would have ever thought that would happen? Such a unique moment in our daddy-daughter vacation. It made my day!

The first site we went to on Day 3 was the Citadel. It's a medieval fortress with a museum about the history of Jerusalem inside of it (the Tower of David museum).

There's archeological excavations (they seem to be really in to those in this country) in the middle that you can walk around.

One of the coolest parts of the Citadel was walking on the walls to get great views of the city.

This is the tower of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer (we went in there later that day!). And the BYU JC is in the background.

The grey domes on the left are the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We went there too.

And of course the famous Dome. We went there the day before this!

The museum had different rooms devoted to different eras in Jerusalem history. It was kind of fun to review some things I learned this summer in my classes. I liked how the museum wasn't super big. It was just the right size! And really, the views and walking around the ruins were the coolest part.

Our next activity for the day was walking around the ramparts of the Old City walls. You can walk around about half of the Old City on a tiny little walkway on top of the medieval walls. There were lots of old, uneven stairs and lots of sun, but it was totally worth it! How often can you walk on ramparts in Jerusalem?

View of an Arab neighborhood from the walls:

Since it was Friday, Jewish things start closing down for the Sabbath in the afternoon. So I skillfully planned to visit Christian sites in the afternoon. We went to Church of the Redeemer and Church of the Holy Sepulchre (where Catholics believe Christ's tomb was). And guess what, I ran into Kendall and Karlie again! It was fun reminiscing about our friend Kaitlyn's love of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre together, because she was already back in America.

Then we headed to the site that many Protestants believe to be to location of Christ's tomb- the Garden Tomb. We're so fair! The Garden Tomb is beautiful, but it's not ancient and full of history like the Holy Sepulchre.

After relaxing at the hotel for a little while, we got some dinner and headed to the Western Wall to party for Shabbat. I think I've already written about the Western Wall a few times. Yeah. I still love it. This time I had to say goodbye to it, so that was a little sad. It was really fun to show my dad how crazy it is there on Friday nights. He said it was his favorite thing we did in Israel! I also got to see Kendall and Karlie yet again :)

Goodbye, Western Wall! I hope I see you again someday.

And then...I fell asleep for the last time in Jerusalem. Sigh, my last night in this amazing city. During the last few weeks of the BYU program, I was ready to go home. But these days with my dad were so fun that I stopped wanting to leave. Okay, now I'm just making myself homesick for Jerusalem. Good thing I leave for France in 2 days.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dad in Jerusalem Day 2

Like I said on the previous post, on Dad's second day in Jerusalem we went straight to the Old City. You can only visit the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock in the morning, so we went there first. We had to walk past the Western Wall to get there, so of course Dad had to go touch it!

Who wants to see him wearing a yarmulke?

There's a bar mitzvah going on in the background!

I love that place! Then we went up to the Temple Mount.

After walking around up there we wandered around the streets of the Old City and made it to Shabban's shop. He's one of the shopkeepers in the Old City that caters to BYU students. It was kind of a hangout place. I went there a lot this summer! And surprise, surprise...I ran into some friends there! Such a pleasant surprise to see my friends Kendall and Karlie with their parents :) 

We tried to visit the very pretty St. Savior's Church, but it was closed. So me and Dad headed over to the Jewish Quarter. I'd been wanting to do a tour of the Hurva Synagogue, but hadn't been able to yet. We bought tickets and then had to wait for an hour. While I left to go get some food, Dad managed to get swindled for money by an old man. Oops.

The square in front of the Hurva Synagogue is one of my favorite places in Jerusalem. It's a great place to relax and people watch.

The reason I wanted to tour Hurva Synagogue is because of all of the interesting history behind it. In its basement, you can see ruins of Jewish ritual baths (mikvehs) from the 1st century. The first synagogue in this spot was built in the 2nd century by Judah HaNasi. I saw his grave in the Galilee! He's a very important figure in Jewish history.

In 1700, (yeah, I'm glossing over quite a few centuries, whatever) a group of 500 Polish Jews emigrated from Europe with their leader Judah HeHasid. Another Judah! His group built a huge new synagogue on the site. They had to borrow money to pay for it, and weren't able to pay back the Arabs they borrowed it from on time. So the Arabs burned down their brand new synagogue and banned Jews of European descent from living in Jerusalem for a century.

In Hebrew, Hurva means 'ruins' or 'destruction.' So it got it's modern name from the burned down ruins of Judah HeHasid's synagogue. Jews were allowed to rebuild a synagogue on the site in the 1850s. It was the largest and most important synagogue in Palestine. In the 1948 war, Arabs completely destroyed the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. All Jews were forced out of their homes, and the Hurva Synagogue was bombed and purposefully destroyed.

When Israel regained control of the Old City in 1967, they rebuilt the Jewish Quarter. It wasn't until 2000 that they decided to rebuild the Hurva. It was just finished in 2010! So it's a very new building, but it was built with the exact blueprints of the synagogue from the 1850s.

We talked about all of this history on the tour! And more.

Here's the first floor of the synagogue:

For most of the history discussion we sat upstairs in the women's section with this view:

I LOVE this picture, because it's the only one from all of the 24 years that I've been on this earth where I'm the same color as my dad. And I'm sure it will be the last. #momsgenes

The great thing about this tour was that the tour guide could tell that my dad didn't know much about Judaism and Jewish history. There was one other BYU student and his mom on the tour, but everyone else was Jewish. So the tour guide kept joking with him and making fun of him the whole time. It was hilarious. He kept stopping the tour just to ask Dad if he understood. Haha.

After hanging out on the second floor, we went up even higher- to the roof! And the balcony inside the synagogue. Pretty awesome views.

Roofs of the Jewish Quarter:

Stairs leading up to the balcony inside the synagogue:


And great views of the city!

Featuring the BYU Jerusalem Center on the left:

If you can't tell from all of the long paragraphs I wrote about this place, I loved this tour. So glad I finally got to check it off my list.

After the tour we had some lunch and walked around the Old City a little more. We did some shopping and got Mom some earrings for her birthday. 

We left the Old City through Damascus Gate so I could show Dad where I came into the city every day all summer.

After some relaxing time at the hotel we went to Malcha Mall for dinner and Zara. It was another place that I didn't get to during the summer. It was a HUGE mall. I absolutely had to go there because so far I've been to Zara, my favorite store, in 6 countries (U.S., France, Monaco, Spain, Austria, Germany). Israel makes 7! Zara needs to give me an award or something.

Dad got to have another experience with kosher food at the food court. Kosher restaurants either serve meat or dairy products, but not both together. So I'm afraid he didn't get a lot of meat this week since I prefer dairy products to meat...

The mall was fun because it wasn't touristy at all. No one tried to speak English to me in the stores.

A big thanks to my dad for going shopping with me! :)

It was a great day, and a trip to Zara made it even more awesome.