Day One: Qiryat Ye’arim and Abu Ghosh

Note: This is a catch-up post. It is intentionally short and whittled down to make room for the bigger stuff we did in Jerusalem today. The stuff I write about the first day is not meant to be exhaustive, it’s only stuff that interested me about the trip.

Monday, January 20th was orientation day for the morning, so not much interesting to report there. Except that we have a bomb shelter on the Moshav that is actually supposed to be one of our prime hang-out places. I figured out how to use the library and how to set up the wireless on my computer, but neither of those affect you, Constant Reader, because you don’t really care how my studies go (unless, of course, you are my parents. In which case you care a great deal).

In the afternoon we took a hike. The Moshav (called Yad Hashmonah) is located between Tel Aviv, which is to the east of the Moshav on the coast of the Mediterranean, and Jerusalem, which is to the west futher inland.

We hiked east about a kilometer to Qiryat Ye’arim (pronouned something like “Kiriat Jearim”), and read from II Samuel 6–the story of when David took the Ark of the Covenant from the Philistines and began transporting it toward Jerusalem. It stayed in the house of Abinidab, which was at the top of the hill at Qiryat Ye’arim for about 120 years. There is a Catholic church at the top of the hill, replete with a gigantic statue of Mary holding Jesus and standing on top of the Ark. Whatever.

On the other side of the hill is the Arab city of Abu Ghosh, which was neat to walk through. We stopped at another church there, which I thought was significantly cooler. There were painted murals on the walls of biblical history, but when the Muslims took control of the church during the 11th or 12th Century, they scrubbed some of the paintings off the walls because they are iconoclasts ( basically defined, they hate images in churches). So you walk around this beautiful church on the inside and see faces erased from paintings and heads gone and so forth. It was tangible history; I could see it on those walls and in the tomb of a preist in the basement. You can see pictures of this trip on facebook shortly.

I thought all this was so cool. Which is was. But it doesn’t hold a candle to Jerusalem the next day.

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