I know, you love the camel, right?! Let me confirm some of those rumors you always hear about camels. Yes, they are smelly. Incredibly. But if you were a large, hairy animal with poor teeth (as seen above), you’d be pretty stinky too. And, yes, they spit and growl. But they will let you ride them as some of our students found out.
Now that we’re all caught up, we’re going to try and stay on track, but no promises. Tomorrow morning (Wednesday), we leave for Bethlehem. And there’s no telling what the WiFi there will be, so don’t get too hopeful here. That’s enough about tomorrow, let’s recap today.
Today was a museum-based day. We spent most of our time at various museums in West Jerusalem, hence the reason there aren’t many pictures. Turns out, when it comes to rare artifacts and parchments, they don’t like you taking photos. So, you won’t see as many here. My apologies. But we’ll try to be as descriptive as possible.
Our first museum was the Israel Museum. This is where some of the Dead Sea Scroll stuff hangs out. The most impressive thing (well, at least according to my standards), was the building that was created as a reminder of the scrolls and the light and dark contrast that the Essenes (the gentlemen who wrote said scrolls) believed in. Oh, and we saw an incredible 1:50 model of the city of Jerusalem when the temple would have been around.
The tiny city of Jerusalem from Biblical times.
On to the light/darkness part. Now, when the Essenes were around, they considered themselves as light in the world and all others were in darkness. The Essenes were Jews who were ultra pious; they ritually bathed several times a day, lived in the wilderness, and etc. Remember, John the Baptist is thought to have been one of these for a while. When they made their jars for the scrolls to be stored in, they had these long tall jars with these domes on top, just like the dome at the museum (you’ll see what I mean down below). The dome at the museum covers the display of the Dead Sea Scrolls and opposite it (not pictured) is a black stone wall representing the Essenes against the world. To make it even cooler, there is a constant spray of water on the dome to represent the continuous ritual cleansing that they were doing multiple times a day. Now, if you’re confused, this is the part where you find your local McCormick student who was on this trip, and you quiz them about this. That might help.
The dome covering the display in the building made to look like the top of a jar containing scrolls.
After this, we headed over to the Bible Lands Museum, a private collection that has been turned into a museum. Sadly, no pictures were allowed to be taken. But it was cool, just trust us. There were two bibles there that were deemed as “unusable” from after the time of the printing press. One was called the “cannibal bible.” In Deuteronomy 24:3, it changed the world ‘hate’ to ‘ate’, therefore making a man eat his wife.
“And if the latter husband [h]ate her, and write her a bill of divorcement…”
The other Bible that was considered to be out of commission was one that was simply lacking a comma, making Jesus something not so nice. The power of the comma, kids.
The third museum we moved on to was the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. Essentially, it was build as a line that is broken, like the story of the Jewish people by the Holocaust, but eventually leads the viewer outside to a spectacular view of Jerusalem, the outcome for the Jews after their suffering.
The view out onto West Jerusalem.
After our Holocaust visit, we made our way to Rabbis for Human Rights where we heard from a self-proclaimed Zionist rabbi who is head of a group seeking to ensure that whoever is living in the Jewish state is treated with the same respect and dignity as the Jews themselves. With Rabbi Abraham Heschel as their model, they seek justice for all and believe that “where some are guilty, all are responsible.”
Rabbis for Human Rights.
Well, friends, that’s it for now. We’re heading to bed and getting ready to head to Bethlehem in the morning. We’ll check in again soon!