Feels Weird

Feels Weird

It feels weird having Sunday as a play day and having gone to church on Saturday.  But, that’s the way they do it here in Israel.  We went to church yesterday at the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center, and today we’re out touring and shopping.

We joined up with the Brandson’s and went to Masada.  It’s a fortress King Herod built atop a plateau South East of Jerusalem.  Then, the Romans came and attacked by building a HUGE earth ramp to the top. (as seen below)

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Masada

Here is what it may have looked like at the Meridian of Time…

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Masada

After a long day, I stopped at neighborhood bakery for some baklava .  The Jews do baklava right; the Greeks have nothing on them.

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Baklava

On the way to Masada I sat in the back seat with Fred Brandson.  It turns out he works for AT&T.  What a small world.  Imagine coming halfway across the world and running into a guy from Antioch Stake who works for AT&T.  I started asking questions like, “Do you know the Koberstiens?”, “The Mahaffees?”  “The Westovers?”  and so forth.  It turns out we have lost of mutual friends.

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The Branson Family

After a while of Fred Branson and I talking Adam turned around and said, “Will you two knock it off!”

We all laughed about being 1/2 way around the world and running into someone with so much in common.

After returning to Jerusalem we changed clothes and headed back to the BYU Jerusalem Center for a concert.  It was a wonderful concert consisting of a couple of violinist, an opera singer, a pianist and cellist.  They were from New Jersey and we got to talk to the performers after the performance.

It was there I thanked an Elder Jones for getting us tickets.  I told him if he was ever in Palmyra he should look us up.  He said he’s been to Palmyra twice, and then told him his brother and sister-in-law served a mission here.  I asked their names and he said, “Carl and Ramona Jones.”

WELL, SON OF A GUN!  Carl and Ramona lived with us when they were here.  This is getting too weird running in to people with connections like this.

I also met a lady named Carol here.  She’s a psychologist from Lebanon, but is now a U.S. citizen living in the L.A. area.  As we returned to the hostel she was in the dining room looking at photos on her laptop.  I asked if she took them, and she had.  We had a wonderful discussion about photography.

Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat Dinner

Our arrival in Jerusalem was after the start of the Shabbat.  Even McDonalds is closed on the Shabbat (Sabbath) here.  Luckily for us, the hostel was hosting a Shabbat Dinner for a reasonable price.  We signed up.

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Shabbat Dinner

It consisted of a short service starting with a song, followed by a blessing on the wine, then the bread, and then the meal.  (All in Hebrew.  And, I didn’t drink my wine.  When the lady sitting next to me wasn’t looking, I dumped mine into her glass.)

We had a delightful time talking to the lady next to me.  She is from Lebanon, but now a U.S. citizen working as a psychologist for the U.S. Veterans Administration.

After dinner, we took a sightseeing drive to look at the city at night.

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Jerusalem Sunset

Tomorrow is the Sabbath here and so we are going to church at the BYU Jerusalem Center.  Church starts at 10am so that will take up all of our morning and into the afternoon.  Our plan after church is to visit the Orson Hyde Gardens and Gethsemane.    There is so much to see and do here, we’ll just take things one day at a time.