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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Masada, Israel

Mar 23, 2014 - Masada - Dead Sea

We stopped at three locations today - Masada, the Dead Sea, and the Inn of the Good Samaritan. Masada, overlooking the Dead Sea, was built by King Herod, in the style of an ancient Roman fortress. Eventually the Romans abandoned it and the Jews took it over. Then, around 73 AD, Masada became the last bastion of Jewish freedom fighters against an 8,000 man strong Roman Army, and it fell, violently. Supposedly all of the Jews at Masada were killed at the hands of their fellow Jews until there was on Jew left, who killed himself. This was so...

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Feb 24, 2014 - Masada

Off to Masada from the West. We arrive at the Roman Ramp and wend our way slowly up. No one coming in from this side and only a few tour groups to contend with. So far coming off-season has been a good choice. The weather has been cool and pleasant. I can't imagine being in Jerusalem when its hot and there are even more tourists. Masada is legend - the Roman siege from CE 70-73 where Jewish rebels (Zealots) chose to commit mass suicide rather than submit to capture. Josephus relates that each man was responsible for killing his own family....

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Dec 7, 2013 - Masada

“Masada shall not fall again” is an oath taken by new IDF recruits when they are sworn-in atop this ancient fortress. Constructed by Herod the Great as a weekend palace between 37 and 31 BC, it was captured by Jewish rebels during the First Jewish Roman War in 66AD. 960 Jewish rebels lived on this mountain fortress until the Romans surrounded it with 15,000 soldiers and prepared for a final siege in 73AD. Knowing that defeat was imminent, the Jewish rebels (consisting of men, women, and children) decided that instead of fighting and...

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Apr 12, 2013 - Day 10

Camels are the philosophers of the Desert. They sit in dignified silence, staring blankly out into the reaches of the west bank, undisturbed by the loud buses that pollute their air with obnoxious teenagers. I imagine one of them would be considering the implications of utilitarianism in the context of a new-age dilemma, or perhaps taking a deontological perspective on the religious teachings of Israel. Or, they could just be thinking, “Camel, Camel, Camel, Camel, poop” over and over again, seeing as they poop every few seconds. We use...

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Feb 6, 2012 - Masada, Judean Desert, and the Dead Sea

So, after yesterday's whirlwind tour of the sights and sites of Jerusalem, we decided to drive south to Masada and the Dead Sea. I had been reading about Masada for so many years, it was hard to believe I would actually see it and experience it first-hand! For those who don't know, when the Romans destroyed the Temple in the year 70 (after besieging it since 66 or so), a group of Jewish rebels fled to a location in the Judean Desert where, around 35 BCE or so, King Herod had built a winter palace/fortress. Masada is a mountain with a flat...

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Jun 13, 2011 - Day 7: Masada, Dead Sea Scrolls, Up to Jerusalem

We left Wadi Musa at 7 a.m. and drove back to the Allenby Bridge to return to Israel. We arrived close to 11 a.m. This time the border crossing only took two hours instead of three. Now we were on our way to the Dead Sea. Our first stop as we headed south was at Qumran where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. We watched a video about them and then went through a museum and saw sections of scrolls. Yossi said when he studied the scrolls, he was fascinated to be able to read the Hebrew and understand it. The area where the caves are was very...

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May 6, 2011 - I can't go any lower

Went down stairs and my laundry still hadn't arrived. Today is Friday so I have to wait until tomorrow to figure out if I have clean clothes or have to by a new wardrobe. My Muslim cleaner is closed on Friday. This is the day he fences all his western style underwear. The Armenian running the front desk says I was asking for trouble going to that cleaners. "Don't trust anything the Jews or Arabs tell you." thanks for the heads up. Wearing yesterday's clothes I figured it's a good day to get out of town and head into the Judean desert....

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Trip Journal


Western Civilization

Jan 4, 2011 - Masada!

From Qumran, we continued onward to Masada, about a 20 minute drive. I should mention that throughout this approximately 45 minute drive along Rte 90, the beautiful Dead Sea was on our left and very dry, sandy desert hills on our right. We looked at this barren, very dry landscape within the West Bank and wonder what are they fighting over? If it were only so easy to say "you can have it." But of course we all know it means far more than this godforsaken strip of land. Ok, back to Masada. On the way into this national park site, we passed...

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Trip Journal


Kaufmans in Israel

Feb 18, 2010 - I Rode a Camel Today!

Ooooh my God, I rode a camel in the Negev Desert today!!!! It was soooo awesome and totally cool. People have been asking me what the best part of the trip was so far. I kept saying I didn't know because the trip wasn't over, but it's definitely the camel ride. We left this morning for Masada. Masada is this huge mountain in the desert. People lived on top of the mountain nearly 2000 years ago. The Romans wanted to capture the people who were living on top of the mountain. They worked their way up the mountain. Instead of being killed by...

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May 30, 2009 - Day 5 - Masada

Ronnie Simon was our new guide for today. We went this morning to the Israeli National Park at Masada. It is like our Gettysburg, Valley Forge, and Bull Run all rolled into one. The reasoning behind why Masada was chosen as a fortress location by King Herod that the Dead Sea area was the eastern edge of the Roman Empire and the primary threat in the east to the sovereignty of Rome were the Syrians. One of the routes that Syria could use to bring an army into Roman occupied Palestine was the land bridge between the upper and lower divisions...

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Mar 30, 2009 - Masada, Jericho & Swimming in the Dead Sea

Words can't begin to describe the experiences we had today, so we're showing many more pictures than usual! Our day began with a bus ride to Masada, where we took a cable car up to the top of this massive fortress and learned the history behind what many Jews consider to be a story of heroism. 1,000 Jews committed mass suicide rather than risk enslavement by the Romans, who eventually overtook the fortress. We enjoyed another spectacular day in the weather department. Other than one morning of showers (which stopped by the time our tour...

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Mar 12, 2009 - Day 15 - Our Trip to the South, Part B

Day II Today I just knew it was going to be a good day. We all woke up very early (about 4 A.M.), got ready and had tea and crackers for breakfast. After getting ready we all drove to the amazing fortress of Masada. When we arrived it was still dark. We began our hike up to the top of Masada. After a good 20 minutes of hiking we finally arrived to the top to find the most amazing view of the valley in the east. We stayed at the top until the sunrise and we got a little tour of the building on top of the fortress. I thought it was very...

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