Jerusalem:-The Church of the Holy Sepulchre…

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The Basilica…

The site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is identified as the place both of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus.

We entered the church from the single door, the only door open for public access to the church. The entrance is located in a large courtyard where Christian Pilgrims gather before entering the Church. When we enter the church, in front of us was a stone raised above ground level. Known as the Stone of Anointing (13th Station of the Cross), also known as The Stone of Unction, where Jesus’ body was prepared for the burial. This stone is a replica added in 1810. The original stone can only be traced back to the era of the crusaders.

To the right of the stone is a stairway climbing to Calvary (Golgotha), traditionally regarded as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and the most lavishly decorated part of the church. The main altar there belongs to the Greek Orthodox, which contains The Rock of Calvary (12th Station of the Cross). There are always long lines, due to its significance, waiting to see and pray at the rock which can be seen under glass. Beneath the altar there is a hole said to be the place where the cross was raised. Today, the church is home to Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.

Below are some of my images from our visit. I apologize for some of the image quality, as the church is very dark inside and I was hand-holding the camera.

(Reminder, click mouse on any image to begin slideshow):…

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The Kotel: Putting on and wearing Tefillin…

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When heading to the men’s area of the Kotel, members of the Lubovitch sect of Hassidism, will stop and ask if you want to put on tefillin before heading to the wall to pray. The tefillin consist of two black leather boxes and straps to hold them on. One is worn on the biceps, and its strap, which is tied with a special knot, is wound by the wearer seven times around the forearm and hand—on the left arm for right-handed people and on the right for those who are left-handed. The second box is worn on the forehead at the hairline, with its straps going around the back of the head, connected at the top of the neck with a special knot, and hanging in front on each side.

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Four passages in the Torah call upon the Israelites to keep God’s words in mind by “bind  them as a sign upon  hands and making them totafot between eyes.” Tefillin, as ordained by the rabbinic leaders of classical Judaism, are intended to fulfill that commandment. Inside the tefillin are handwritten parchments with texts from the four passages mentioned earlier.

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Tefillin are worn during morning services except on Shabbat or festivals. Most men wear tefillin in Orthodox and Conservative congregations, as do some women in Conservative congregations. The use of tefillin is less prominent in Reform and Reconstructionist congregations by both men and women. Inside the tefillin are handwritten parchments with texts from the four passages mentioned above. At the Kotel I guess about 30% of the men praying wore tefillin.

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A Visit to Yafo (Jaffa) – Tel Aviv…

Jaffa is the southern, oldest part of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality (since 1950), an ancient port city in Israel. The view above is the Tel Aviv skyline as viewed from Jaffa. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical stories of Solomon, Jonah and Peter. Many artists have moved their studios from Tel Aviv to the Old City and its surroundings, such as the Jaffa port, where we met the Israeli artist Sigal Melinger.

Sigal Melinger stands in front of her works in her gallery in Jaffa Port.

Sigal Melinger stands in front of her works in her gallery in Jaffa Port.

Mahmoudia Mosque was built in 1812 by Abu Nabbut, governor of Jaffa from 1810 to 1820.

The Courtyard, Mahmoudiya Mosque

The Courtyard, Mahmoudiya Mosque

We spent time walking around the Jaffa Port area. It is still a working port with many small fishing boats docked here.

Port Jaffa...

Port Jaffa…

Egret in Port Jaffa ...

Egret in Port Jaffa …

Fisherman, Port Jaffa

Fisherman, Port Jaffa

Boys Fishing, Port Jaffa...

Boys Fishing, Port Jaffa…

Accordionist, Port Jaffa...

Accordionist, Port Jaffa…

Bicycle...Port Jaffa...

Bicycle…Port Jaffa…

'VINT GE'. Port Jaffa...

‘VINT GE’. Port Jaffa…

Port Tel Aviv (Namal Tel Aviv):- The Fisherman and His Cats…

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Port Tel Aviv, Israel…

It’s been real nice and relaxing since we arrived two weeks ago. We’ve been taking advantage of the fine weather we’ve been having and try to head to a beach as often as we can.

One of the nicest places to visit in Tel Aviv is the port of Tel Aviv – or Namal Tel Aviv as it’s known in Hebrew. Located on the Mediterranean, the port is not technically a beach, although there are areas to swim, surf and relax. Port Tel Aviv is actually not so old when compared with some of the ancient treasures in the Holy Land – the port was founded in the mid 1930s, and quickly became the country’s biggest working port. Because of the advent of container shipping the port fell into dereliction but Tel Aviv has over the last few years transformed this area into a place with many restaurants,  shopping and entertainment options.

Last Thursday Eileen and I headed to the port for lunch at one of the outside restaurants located on the boardwalk. This also gives us an opportunity to relax, take in the beautiful Mediterranean and to ‘people watch’. One of these ‘people’ that caught our eye was this old fisherman who was casting his line from the boardwalk, which is quite common here, but what made him stand out is that many cats were standing near him watching.

The Fisherman and his Cats...

The Fisherman and his Cats…

So why were the cats hanging around this guy? Obvious isn’t it? After he’d catch a fish he’d take it off the line and give it to one of his cats.

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A man after my own heart!

More to come! Eileen and I wish all of our friends a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season!

What A Difference A Day Makes:- Sharon National Park…

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It’s amazing how totally different yesterday’s weather was as compared to today’s. Today it was warm and sunny. The sea was much calmer and the surfers were having a hard time catching a good wave to ride in.

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Eileen and I decided to head to the beach  since the weather was being so co-operative. We drove to Sharon National Park which is located a little north of Herzlia, about half-way between Herzlia and Natanya. The park is quite big and overlooks the Mediterranean from the 300′ sandstone cliffs. It is quite a spectacular view.

The park is also noted for its beautiful wild flowers which we will return to see in the early spring. The rains, of course, are a welcome help at this time of year. The video below shows the view from the park, first heading north, with Natanya seen in the distance, and then spans south towards Herzlia.

The beautiful woman in the video is my wife Eileen. She somehow keeps following me around, or maybe, to be perfectly honest, here I follow her!

‘There’s A Storm A-Brewin!’ – Herzlia Beach, Israel

We arrived safely back in Israel. It always takes some time for us to adjust to the time difference as Israel is 7 hours earlier than back home so we have been hanging around the house and re-visiting some nearby places that we often like to go to. Herzlia Beach is always high on the list. The beach is beautiful and quiet this time of year. Today it was quite windy and cool (60f) but it was nice to walk and enjoy the atypical rough waters of the Mediterranean. Surfers were out enjoying the day. Here’s a short video of Herzlia Beach.

(Click on link to begin!)

Heading Back To Israel:…

Well it’s that time of year again. Eileen and I will be heading to Israel for the next four months. We plan on returning in early April, just in time for us to file our taxes. We look forward to the visit and reconnecting with Corinne and all of our friends there. Also, of course, looking forward to shooting more images from this amazing place.

Jerusalem, The Kotel, the shuuks, the holy and historic sites, Tel Aviv and of course Herzlia our hometown. HERE WE COME!

A look at some of my images from past trips follows.

 

Jerusalem, The Old City

Jerusalem, The Old City

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Soldiers pray at Kotel

Soldiers pray at Kotel

The Kotel, Jerusalem

The Kotel, Jerusalem

The Kotel, Jerusalem

The Kotel, Jerusalem

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Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock

Jerusalem,

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Nazareth

Nazareth

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Shakshuka...

Shakshuka…

Lunch...

Lunch…

Lunch on the beach, Herzlia, Israel...

Lunch on the beach, Herzlia, Israel…