A Day Outside the City
Trip Start Aug 31, 2010
14Trip End Sep 12, 2010
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We started out this morning by heading over to the Israel Museum, where there are two important things to see. The first is a scale model of the ancient city of Jerusalem from Jesus' time. This was formerly at the Holy Land Hotel, but was moved here a few years ago due to its significance. It is a 1 to 50 scale model and gives one an outstanding perspective on the city's layout.
After viewing the model, we moved over to the Shrine of the Book, a section of the museum devoted to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Essene community that had accumulated and copied them
After the museum, we got back on the bus to drive down to Masada, the wilderness fortress built by Herod but made famous by the 960 zealots and refugees who held out against the Romans after Jerusalem was sacked in 70 AD. You reach the summit by cable car and in grueling heat you listen to stories of how Herod built the fortress, how the Jews occupied it, how the Romans besieged it and finally how important Masada is to modern Jewish life and thinking. The military saying, "Masada will never fall again" indicates that Jews will never again limit their options but will fight to maintain a strong homeland against all enemies.
After the tour, we ate lunch at the Masada visitor center and then moved on to an oasis in the desert by the name of En Gedi. En Gedi is famous for the account of how David spared Saul's life in a cave as described in 1 Samuel 24. En Gedi has a waterfall, which creates an oasis in the harsh desert. Some of the team put their feet in the stream but everyone was anxious to return to the shaded area. It was 105 degrees. As we were pulling out, we saw two male ibex or mountain goats, which are native to the desert area. How they survive and what they eat are known only to their Creator.
Then it was time for our last bus ride up to Jerusalem. Tomorrow we have a four-hour drive to Eilat, which is on the Red Sea and the point where we cross into Egypt. You may not receive another update until Cairo on Friday night, since we get up at 2 AM Friday morning to ride a camel up Mount Sinai to view the sunrise on Moses' mountain. Should be fun, but it won't be easy. So stay tuned, there is more to come.