I Have An Awful Bruise

So, so much for not having a cough. Lol. I woke up Sat morning with a silly one that hopefully won’t stay too long. There’s a bunch of us sick actually, none too bad but just nagging.

Well, to continue where I left off last time…

So far I’ve had all my classes except Jewish Thought and Culture. Land and Bible is ok so far. We do a lot of field trips (Jerusalem was the first one) and I’m looking forward to the rest of them. The class work involves a good deal of reading and 2 hr. class sessions that involve interesting (and some not-so-interesting..lol) facts on the archeology, geography, etc. of the land discussed in the Bible as well as variously other stories, bunny trails, and comic strips that make us all chuckle. To give you an example, in order to prove the point that water was very heavy and hard to move, Randy told us about the 21 tanks of fish he used to have in Brazil – 14 outside and 7 inside – and how he would sell them for 5 cents to kids on Saturday mornings and use the money from the profit to take Phyllis, his wife, out to dinner every Saturday night. =D
Life of Christ with Abner Chou is amazing, as would be expected. We’ve had 3 sessions of this class and already we’re discussing the somewhat confusing/controversial issue of the multiple and differing geneologies we have for Christ in Matthew and Luke. It’s going to be amazing.
We had our first Regional Explorations class the other day. Bill Schlegel is our prof for this. This class involves some reading, a lot of intense hiking, and fortunately, no long papers, only 1 pg reports on the hikes we do. He told us in class that we’d be snorkeling in the Negev in mid-March! Whoohoo!!
On Friday night, we welcomed in the Shabbat; and yes, it was indeed welcome. The week had been busy, fast-paced, and tiring as we’ve all adjusted to Israeli time (well, some of us… as I explained I haven’t had too much trouble.) getting up at 6:30am every morning, and adjusting to the differing diet here. We ate great food and listened to Bill speak about the Sabbath a little. We also got to hang out with the Schlegel kids Rachel, Zach, Isaiah, and Eitan. Over the course of the meal, I taught Zach how to make napkin balls and got reprimanded (half playfully) for holding him down and force-feeding him his spaghetti (long story..lol). Anyway… lol
On Saturday morning, we met at the email room and voted for dorm leaders. Dorm leaders hold the wing cellphone, assign/oversee dorm cleaning, and meet with the other dorm leaders (there are 4 total) and Abner Chou once a week. Basically, they are the equivalent of SLS (Student Leadership Staff) here at IBEX. It was an anonymous vote, and we have yet to hear the results.
Church was actually held in our classroom. The room filled up with people who live on the moshav and others who travel to the meeting. The service was done in Hebrew and translated for us. It was really neat – the speaker taught on David’s sin with Bathsheba – to hear the Bible taught from someone who lives and full understands the culture, idioms, etc. of the Bible.
After service, we piled onto the bus around 1:30 and headed to downtown Jerusalem, where we were dropped off at Jaffa Gate and left to enjoy the city until the evening. We split up into various groups and did some great exploring of the city.
My group first went to Shaaban’s shop. Shaaban. He’s a story in and of himself. Shaaban is an Arab shopkeeper who gives us the best currency exchange rate as well as helps us find the best deals for Israeli food (we had falafel and drinks for 10 shekels when it’s normally 30 shekels for just the falafel). He also has some other “connections” (this is not confirmed but assumed) but we don’t talk about that. Lol =D
As the day progressed, we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, just enjoyed walking around trying to find our way around, picked oranges from a public orange tree (the oranges themselves were crazy sour!), climbed through a locked gate and did some exploring down a staircase, strolled through the Moslem quarter during the daily prayer time, ate pizza at “Big Apple Pizza” for dinner (actually half-decent pizza, better than LA), and got lost on our way to meet the rest of the group at Zion Square.
We did finally make our way to Zion Square on time – 8pm – where we joined the others and began SNL (Saturday Night Live), our time of fun and games. We were divided into groups of 4 and given a list of places around Jerusalem where we needed to get pictures of our group. They included doing a headstand in the crosswalk between Jaffa and Ben Yehuda Streets, pretending to read books in front of a bookstore, acting out Jesus raising the Centurion’s daughter to life (I got the bruise there – again, don’t ask), and kissing Ronald McDonald at a local, kosher McDonald’s.
We almost didn’t get that picture at McDonald’s. We arrived there just in time to see a car fire out front. There was a group gathering around, and the smoke billowing out of the taxi was dark and gross-smelling. When they did let us into McDonald’s, they had to search our backpacks – a common practice apparently – and the automatic doors going out were closed and not working when we went to leave. We had to pry them open. Just an fyi to call your heart, Mom, it was only an engine fire.
After the scavenger hunt, we met everyone at Aroma Coffee and just hung out as a group.
On Sunday morning, at 8am, we again boarded the bus for Jerusalem. We walked around with Randy – our second Life and Bible field trip – and went through the city tracing the Old Testament and Hezekiah’s Wall. We stopped at David’s supposed tomb as well as his actual tomb (yes, two different places), the supposed upper room (again, it is not historically accurate to be at that location), the Pool of Siloam, and the spot where an archeologist is excavating what she thinks is David’s palace.
My favorite part was walking 185 ft underground through the shin-high water-filled, 1752 ft. Hezekiah’s Tunnel. This underground trip started at the top of the City of David, southeast of Jerusalem, and proceeded until the southeast of the City of David. We talked, laughed, and sang “It is Well” all the way through.
That evening we spent at the library ‘til it closed at 10, then went to the miklat, where some of us played games and a few of us tried to study.
I know this note was long in coming, so my next one will jump from Sunday to Tuesday and our overnight trip to Jerusalem.

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