Experiencing Israel In 7 Photos
An obviously incomplete, but personally memorable portrait of life in the Jewish State.
It’s Friday afternoon in Jerusalem, a few days before my wife and I will be returning to the U.S. We’ve been reminded, once again, during our month in Israel, that more than one place can be “home.”
How to sum up our experience? Sometimes words are not enough. Here are a few photos that, for me, capture the uniqueness of this ancient-modern society.
Shabbat shalom to all,
Another day at the office: an archaeologist of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which is in charge of the administration of the Kotel, spotted at his desk during a tour of the tunnel deep below the ancient holy site. Above ground, the wall extends about 75 yards; in all, though, it stretches approximately a-third of a mile and reaches down to first-century level.
East meets West: a chasidic family observing a display at the newly renovated Anu Museum of the Jewish People, on the campus of Tel Aviv University. Formerly known as Beit Hatfutsot, the museum has undergone a $70 million renovation in recent years and now includes a wide and impressive range of interactive experiences that focus on the history and diversity of Jewish life.
Colorful cuisine: A display of snacks at a local makolet (mini-market) in Tel Aviv. Anything chocoloate is a big favorite in Israel, and sweets are always in season.
A wail of anguish: Jerusalem’s Emek Refaim, a normally busy street, at 11 a.m. on Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day), during the nationwide moment of silence, announced by a loud siren. Pedestrians and drivers stop in place and stand with heads bowed. Many Israelis visit the graves of loved ones at military cemeteries around the country on this most somber of days.
“… And a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8): Young women celebrating Yom Ha’atzma’ut (Israel’s Independence Day), immediately following Yom Hazikaron, at an evening First Station concert in Jerusalem. Picnics and barbecues are the order of the day, and it’s not unusual to see families carrying large tables, chairs and packages of food to local parks.
Daily life in the shadows of history: School girls playing ball outside the famous Hurva Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. A symbol of religious faith and renewal, the synagogue dates back to the 15th century and has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times. The menorah in a glass case was dedicated in recent decades.
The core of a people: A glimpse into a heart-shaped crevice in the Western Wall (Kotel), where it is a longstanding tradition for visitors to write and place notes of personal prayer. Touching the ancient stones, once the outer wall of the Holy Temple, one realizes they have become smoothe over thousands of years of caresses — one more reminder of the endless chain of Jewish life that began, and flourishes, here.