Toronto to Tel Aviv

Toronto to Tel Aviv

I picked up Matt and Becca Baker at their home and the three of us drove to Toronto to catch our flight to Tel Aviv.  Toronto to Tel Aviv is cheaper than JFK (New York City) to Tel Aviv.  So, we’re doing it this way.

Whoa!  When I got to the airport, long term parking is EXPENSIVE here.  I’m beginning to wonder if it was such a good deal to fly from here.  Oh, but we’re splitting the parking expense.  It might workout okay.

Matt and Becca made it on the flight and we met up with John and Linda at the Toronto Airport.  We’re all going to be on the same plane together.

The Flight

The people at Air Canada are nice and friendly.  The plane is a new Boeing 787, however, I am not impressed with the cabin.  They took the cheap way out.  I’m sure it is fun for the pilots and perhaps the crew, but here’s what isn’t good about Air Canada’s rendition of the 787…

  1. The seats are too narrow.
  2. The seats are too close together.  (Delta probably has barely 12″.  I think this had about 9″ between the front of the seat and the back of the seat in front of you.  For a size 11 foot… that’s not enough.)
  3. For a brand new model, the air quality still sucks.  When will they figure out how to fix the smells and stuffiness on an airliner?

Tel Aviv

We touched down in Tel Aviv and were on our way to pass through the passport checks and getting our luggage.

copyright 2018 db walton
On Our Way Out of the Airport
copyright 2018 db walton
Passing Through Passport Checks
copyright 2018 db walton
Passing Through Passport Checks

We got our rental car in Tel Aviv and they discovered it had a leaky roof.  So, we had to wait about an hour for them to find and clean a van for us.

copyright 2018 db walton
Worn out from the flight
copyright 2018 db walton
Jumpy – A good name for this van
copyright 2018 db walton
In the Van en Route to Jerusalem

The van is a Citroen Jumpy.  It’s a fitting name for a van with a Jumpy clutch.


We arrived at the Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem, got checked in, and took some time to get settled.  I’m in a 4-bed dorm room, and so far, it looks like only one other person is in it.

copyright 2018 db walton
Father Abraham

The dorm room was too small to photograph and not impressive, but above you can see the hallway.  But, for the price… it isn’t bad.  5 nights for about $220 and that includes breakfast and earplugs.  (Yes, they have free earplugs so you can blockout your roommates’ snoring.)

Our next stop is the Mount of Olives and the Orson Hyde Gardens.  There we viewed the old city and then visited the Catholic’s version of Gethsemane.  I say the Catholic’s version because we don’t know exactly where Christ suffered and bled, just that it was somewhere on the Mt. of Olives just outside the city walls.

copyright 2018 db walton
A Jewish Funeral Procession

Traffic was held up and Matt spotted this funeral procession.  He stopped so I could jump out and get this picture (above).

copyright 2018 db walton
Outside the Orson Hyde Gardens
copyright 2018 db walton
Matt and Becca Baker
copyright 2018 db walton
John and Linda Harmer
copyright 2018 db walton
copyright 2018 db walton
Matt Baker Describing the Location


Dinner on the first night at any new location is always difficult.  Matt and I knew of places, but finding a place was another story since is getting late.

copyright 2018 db walton
What Are They Looking At? (I can’t remember)

We discovered a market I didn’t know existed.  (It’s rather cool!)  We went looking around and found a shawarma shop that was closing, and so we kept looking.  Finally we found a shawarma/burger place open.

copyright 2018 db walton
A Nice Burger with a Mid-Eastern Flavor
copyright 2018 db walton
Our Little Sidewalk Cafe
copyright 2018 db walton
The Jewish Market Area

It’s back to the hostel (the building with Abraham at the top) to get rested for a big day tomorrow.

copyright 2018 db walton
Our Hostel


The Israel Connection

The Israel Connection

What is the Israel Connection between Israel and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

I don’t know how many non-LDS people know that Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have a great love for Israel.  The first prophet and president of the church, Joseph Smith, sent Orson Hyde to Jerusalem in 1841 to dedicate the land for the return of Abraham’s Children.  In October, 1979, after the church had acquired the property where the dedication took place, President Spencer W. Kimbal, dedicated a memorial garden to  Orson Hyde.  That same year BYU Jerusalem Center was announced.  In 1989, BYU Jerusalem Center was dedicated by President Howard W. Hunter.

I’d go back there in a heartbeat.  I love Israel and Jerusalem.  So, when I discovered this, it made me “homesick” for the land of my fathers.

I say the “land of my fathers” because I’m a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).  There are many people who fail to understand where they come from – Arabs – Abraham through Ishmael (most of them realize it), and Jews – Abraham through Isaac, Jacob and Judah (most of them realize this too).   What others don’t realize is that Jacob had 12 sons and the posterity of 10 of them are “lost”.  The point here is, much of the world is descended from Abraham.  So, yes, Israel is the land of my fathers.  (I’m descended from Jacob mostly through Joseph and partially through Judah.)

copyright 2016 db walton
Jerusalem at Night


Tonight is our temple night.  (Interesting talking about Israel and going to the temple.)

Okay, this is interesting.  We require members to have a recommend before they can enter the temple.  In the Old Testament in the days of Ezra, they were having a difficult time rebuilding the temple.  Some of the priests had lost their genealogy and so a proof was required.  Hmm… kind of like a recommend today.  (See Ezra 2-8).

copyright 2013 db walton
Palmyra Temple and Snow



Grandpa Again

Grandpa Again

Last night my daughter Natalie informed me I’m a grandpa again.  Michael James was born yesterday mid-day.  Mom and baby are doing fine.

In world where a selfish society dictates that families should be small, and that adult relationships have little to do with procreation and more about self-gratification, I feel sorry for those who choose that path.  The promise of finding joy in one’s posterity is only beginning to be realized when one is a grandparent.

It is said that in order for a human couple to achieve a continuance of their posterity they need to create 2.7 offspring.  (Now, that’s an average, but what it means is that couples with 1 or 2 children have a higher risk of their posterity discontinuing within a few generations.  Whereas, couples with 3 or more offspring will most likely have their posterity continue.)  While there may be biological reasons that force a limitation on family size, there have been many studies about nations where the birthrate is below the 2.7 offspring per couple.  The fear is that nations that have a sustainable rate (>2.7) today are the third-world nations, and the nations that have an unsustainable rate (<2.7) are the more educated nations.  Draw what conclusions you may about that, happiness does not come from economic or educational success.

My children continue to bring me joy.  Social media allows me to peek into their lives and for us to mutually share day to day events.  However, that joy is multiplied when they share what their children are doing.

One of the scriptures’ most touching stories is that of Abraham and Sarah and how Abraham would become a father of many nations.  Today, we see that prophecy fulfilled.  I cannot begin to imagine the joy Abraham feels in his eternal abode.

I wonder what happened in our society that caused people to see children as a burden.  There was a time when men wanted the family name to be carried on.  There was a time when family was the basis for education and work-ethic.  Today, especially in entertainment, biological families are portrayed as dysfunctional, and replaced with a pseudo-family of co-workers.

My children bring me joy.  Their children multiply my joy, and if I live to be a great-grandpa, I’m sure they too will exponentially increase my joy.

Don’t let anyone fool you if you’re about to venture out in adulthood.  There is NOTHING that will make your life more joyful than finding a mate whom you love and trust, partnering with God to create life, and watching those new lives grow, mature and repeating the pattern.


Saturday, the day after Christmas, is my So You Got A New Camera for Christmas, Now What? class.  (click here to register)  This $50 class is well worth it to get the most out of your camera.    This class is often small which means you get individualized attention.  This “Grandpa” knows cameras and knows what makes or breaks a photograph, so register SOON.

copyright 2015 db walton
Your Instructor – db walton

Ram in the Thicket

Ram in the Thicket

There was a ram in the thicket today.  If you don’t know what that means, read on, but I was rescued by a ram in the thicket.

The bible tell us that Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice.  Abraham obeyed and headed up Mount Moriah where he would faithfully do as commanded.  Here’s the account from the Bible… (Genesis Chapter 22)

9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

This scripture has come to light this week.  At the start of the week I was given some music to practice so I could accompany the missionaries on a song at Stake Conference.  I worked hard, but it just wasn’t coming together.

Tonight, as we went through to rehearse it, I was struggling when it changed from the key of C to 5 flats.  A missionary, hearing my struggles announced that she knows how to play this song quite well and asked if she would like me to play it.

“Yes!”  there was a ram in the thicket.

The story of Isaac and Abraham hit home hard.  While I would have loved to have been able to play this beautiful song, it wasn’t going to happen with a week of practice.  I knew that, but I trusted the Lord would provide.  I hoped that some miracle would occur and my fingers would just hit the correct notes.  Instead, God provided a way out of doing something that was painful and difficult.