Now I am home and it is time to end this blog. I chose in this year’s not to include my last week in Jerusalem. It takes time to write things up and get pictures ready and even just to think about what might be interesting to write about. But that leaves me with a few experiences, pictures and thoughts that I think are worth sharing.
One of the important places that I visited in Jerusalem was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is considered by several different religious groups to be the place where Jesus was buried and rose again. Pilgrims from all over the world travel to this spot to worship. Priests from the Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic Churches along with several other Eastern Orthodox groups maintain the church.
While we were there a procession of Catholic priests started in one of the chapels. They chanted and proceeded around the various important parts of the church with clouds of incense. As they proceeded more and more people followed until they finally ended up at the location of the tomb.
One thing that made me sad while going through Jerusalem and especially visiting this important holy site was that my friends from Bethlehem could not easily come and visit it even though it is only 15-20 minutes from where they live. They have to apply to get permission to go there and it is often turned down. So sad.
In Jerusalem we also visited several museums (The Shrine of the Book, Vad Yashem, The Citadel or Tower of David) that were extremely well designed and informative, walked around the ramparts of the old city, watched films at the Jerusalem Film Festival (in the heat of the afternoon), and even looked at an archaeological site on the side of the old city.
I am glad I started out by visiting my friend Ruty and then had the great chance to stay with friends in Bethlehem. I am lucky to have a chance to get to know so many different people from different places. I hope I can be a bridge between them all.