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Dec 26, 2011 - Last day surprises

The phone rang early. It was Geva, who set up our Shabbat meals. He said that if we were free, he could take us to a beautiful place on the Mount of Olives, a rare Jewish-owned place there. Fortunately my attempt at purchasing tickets to the highly recommended Time Elevator never worked out, so were were free. Touring with Geva I was expecting an archaelogical site, but instead of something underground, it was a view from the highest place we visited the entire trip. The two-building complex was purchased from an Arab. Properties are...

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Dec 25, 2011 - Shabbat till we Drop

Who opened our window? This morning Lydia complained it was cold and noisy and prevailed on Kevin to get out of bed and investigate how the window had mysteriously opened during the night. After some prodding, he found an odd stuffed sock. Inside was a tasty, if not nutritious, Christmas breakfast for him. There is a big candy shop near us. Then we went to the market where she and I got green halavah (a mix of sesame seeds, honey, and for the green, pistaccio). We went to the candy store for more loot, and we came home to enlist Kevin on...

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Dec 25, 2011 - Church of the Holy Sepulchre Christmas Day

I called Mrs. Berger, our hostess from Saturday evening in the old city and she invited us to tea. Kevin was hoping the Lutheran church would be open but it was closed until New Years. On a return trip to the Church of the Holy Sepluchre, a large crowd was to be found. The church was built around a number of sites that were designated by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine who accepted Christianity over Paganism in the 300's AD. In the evening we had a final visit with the homeschool family we met with earlier in our trip. We were cold and...

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Dec 23, 2011 - Signing off for the week.

Kevin and Lydia maintained their ritual of Friday Daddy Daughter time. They came to get me to see a protest by women over the Orthodox attempt to pass a law that would prohibit women from singing in public. You might see some comments on the subject in the news from Hilary Clinton. To present a variation on a well-known poem: Merry Christmas to all and to all a Shabbat Shalom.

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Dec 22, 2011 - How do you say Hospitality in Hebrew?

Again, no promises about my spelling but I wanted to get this out. Glossary: We are thinking more and more in Hebrew and using the local terms. In today's picture descriptions I've used my old terms, but here are some words that will be popping up here in the future: Kotel: Hebrew for Wall, short for Western Wall Chanukiah: The 9 branched gizmo used for Chanukah lights. It is one type of menorah, which is pretty much any candelabra. We are getting invitations from everywhere. I made contact with my cousins; all the Lelonek ladies are...

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Dec 21, 2011 - Silver Lining

Archaelogical Sifting Project Some history behind our day: Building of the Temple Mount Chanukah celebrates victory of the Jewish community over the Greeks who tried to eradicate the Jewish concept of one god and the related rituals. The group leading the Jewish people to victory was lead by the Macabee family and the soldiers were known as Macabees. After the victory, the Macabee family turned into a line of kings, with declining wisdom over the generations. The last of the line was married to King Herod. He was the one who did all the...

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Dec 21, 2011 - Masada & Dead Sea

Words we are learning to use with pleasure: Oy Vavoy (meaning: OMG) Bagala (meaning: its a mess) Avi and the six of us piled into our mini van and heading East to the Dead Sea and Masada. After a 90 minute drive we arrived at Masada. Took cable car up to the top. Wow, amazing to see the world from there. How they defended themselves with sophisticated walls and such. There was an elaborate city at the top. Next was our big Dead Sea experience. Well, it wasn't what we planned. We were told, in advance, the shore was rocky and salt was...

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Dec 20, 2011 - Path of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Rebecca

Long day touring all around. Went to Hebron. Wow. Wild West. A lot of areas where hard core Arabs are right up against the Jewish lands. Saw Rachel's Tomb, Palace of David, Abraham. Went to the top of a mountain. Rode a camel, backed pita on a rock and had the best mint tea and turkish coffee. (Better to ride a camel in the mountains rather than a parking lot.) David got tefillin and roped into being religious with an Orothodox praying Jew. Car broken on some Area B highway. Happy we had a pistol aboard.

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Dec 20, 2011 - Kevin and the Robot

An early car took Kevin to Caesarea for a full day at Mazor headquarters. This is the company that makes the robot he will be using in surgery. He got additional training, an exam, and a certificate for the wall. Today Mazor sent out this press release Here is the press release: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/20/idUS104905+20-Dec-2011+BW20111220 {I can't get it to show as a link; to view, highlight, copy, and paste into browser window. You could also try typing Kevin Lee MD Mazor into a search engine} A Day in Jerusalem Without...

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Dec 20, 2011 - From Sfat to Jerusalem

Pictures dated 12/14. Cats not far from Egypt Cats are wild here. I guess we're not far from Egypt, from where they originated. There is a 3 year jail penalty for killing a cat. There are restaurants with outdoor dining everywhere. Garbage disposal here entails taking your garbage to a public dumpster. Some take shortcuts and fill the garbage cans on the street. Cats can make a mess of both and we've noted locals debating whether they should be encouraged or discouraged from loitering in public places. Brandel, mother of the family we had...

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Dec 19, 2011 - Jerusalem's Highs and Lows

German Yellow Eggs and Dining Advice Before I get to today's look at Jerusalem - What about the eggs; why were the yolks of the eggs in Germany so bright? Did it mean they were really healthy?? Those yellow egg yolks needed the best of my investigative abilities. I found in Germany that when asking directions, many people gave me instructions with confidence – that did not take me where I wanted to go. I wanted to make sure I had the best chance of getting an answer that was both certain and correct about the eggs. I went to the store that...

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Dec 18, 2011 - Story for my mother

This entry talks a lot about synogogue music, and has unrelated pictures. There is also an old story from my family in here, with which the day resonated. Services at the Great Synogogue Saturday AM Lydia and I walked out to a synogogue recommended for tourists. It was not nearly as touristy as I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. The Great Synogogue is very different from so much of Jerusalem. We had come to expect grand things behind tiny doors. The synogogue is a grand facade with a small modest sanctuary inside. Lydia and I found...

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