Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mary Magdalene Church and More...

A couple of days ago we decided to finally go to the Church of Mary Magdalene which we have been anticipating to see since we have been here because it is the big church with the 7 great onion-topped gold domes that we can see from the center it is one of Jerusalem's best known sacred landmarks and was built in 1865. We also went to an Old Roman Road, Church of All Nations, Garden of Gethsemane, Mary's Tomb, Gethsemane Grotto, birthplace of Virgin Mary, St. Anne's Church, and the Pools of Bethesda. Mary Magdalene church. dont they look like onions? haha
Marianne, Krista, Chelsea and I in front of one of them
These steps were steps that they know that christ walked on
Marianne and I at the place where they think that virgin mary was buried. This is a mural for Mary
A group of us in the same building with one of the men that worked there. He was a greek catholic man that had been working there for about three years
In front of the pools of bethesda where christ healed the man

The birthplace of the virgin mary
After visiting those sites we decided to do a little bit of shopping and we found a jewlery place where you pick whatever stones you want and they will make earings, braclets, necklaces for you. We had a little to much fun there.
Marianne and I with our sweet new earings!
Ms. Owens (chelsea) and I in front of a cool grafiti wall

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem is the holocaust museum here in Israel and it was a very humbling experience. The building is shaped in a triangular shape which is significant because it is half of the star of David. During the time of the holocaust half of the jewish population was killed. You could tell that we were all touched by the experience throughout the whole tour. My favorite part was the part of the museum that was dedicated to the children that were killed. Before you walked in there were pictures of some of the children and then as you kept walking there was a room that had a few candles with mirrors all over the room so it looked like there were hundreds of candles in the room and as we walked around the room there was a voice saying the names of the children, where they were from, and how old they were. It made me so sad. As we went through the triangular prism building seeing the most graphic pictures of the victims and reading the stories of heartache, losing family and friends, and children just fighting to stay alive my heart was broken. It made me so sad that one man’s rise to power had crushed such a huge population. The buildings shape is so significant because it is half of the Star of David. At the time, half of the Jewish population was killed. Our entire group was so touched by this experience and you could see it in everyone’s eyes as we passed each other throughout the tour.

After our tour of the museum we met up Ophir Yardin, who is our Jewish professor and he took us on our tour around Mt. Hertzl which is the mountain above Yad Vashem which commemorates the prophet of zionism and the return of the jews to Israel.

Our teacher talking to the group

Lynds and I on top of Mt. Hertzl
Me, JJ, Eliza, Ryan Money, Lynds, and Bryan

Mt. Sinai

I know that this should have been posted weeks ago but I have been slacking on my posting. On our way back from Egypt we stopped at hotel a little bit right at the bottom of Mt. Sinai. We stayed at the hotel for the night and were woken up at 2 am the next morning but men pounding on our door. We grabbed sack breakfasts consisting of two rolls, chips, cheese, and juice. (interesting! Ha) We were then on to the bus to head to the start of the hike. We finally started the hike at around 3 wearing jeans, a long sleav shirt, a t-shirt over that, two sweatshirts, a windbreaker, two pairs of socks, a scarf and a beanie and gloves that I bought the night before to be prepared. Even with all of that on I was still feeling pretty cold. We finally started the hike and I was feeling good but pretty tired.
We then continued on the hike and I was starting to get pretty worn out and I was shedding layers. It kept continuing to get harder and I wasnt sure if I was going to make it especially since it was pitch black out and I had no idea where and how far the final destination was. We finally made it to the top after many breaks and words of encouragement. Once we got to the top those layers that had been shed came back on immedietly. It was honestly freezing at the top of the mountain. Probably the coldest I have ever been in my entire life and I just didnt know what to do with myself. We all just layed up there getting as close to each other as possible and keeping body heat waiting for the sun to rise. It seemed like hours before the sun rose but once it did it was gorgeous. The whole time I was thinking about Moses and how many times he had to hike it and what a great man he was. After being on the mountain for a while and almost freezing to death we finally started hiking down. By thise time the sun was starting to come out and it was starting to warm up. It felt so nice. I have never loved the sun more. As I was hiking down it was really rocky and uneven and somehow I tripped over a rock and fell straight forward. My knees were super bruised up and scraped but oh well thats what makes the story even better. I am such a clutz. haha! The hike was such an amazing experience and I felt like a learned a lot of life lessons from it and definetly a lot of memories. This last picture is of some of us at the bottom of the mountain relaxing in the nice warm sun right before going back to sleep from the lack of sleep the night before.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Princess Basma Center

A few days ago three girls and I went to the Princess Basma Center here in Jerusalem which is a center where children with disabilities and a parent go to from around 1 week to 3 months for professional assessment of their disabilities and help with basic needs. The parents go with them to learn how to teach and help their children. They stay for a little period of time and then 3 months later go back to see the childs progess. We stayed there for about an hour and played with the children. It was an interesting experience because none of the children speak English nor do they really know how to communicate in the first place so it was really hard to play with them. Some had down syndrome, some couldn’t see, and others couldn’t hear. We had a good time trying to talk to some of the parents of the children and learning a little bit more about their culture and their families. It made me realize how amazing the parents of children with disabilities are becau
se it is such a hard thing to teach and get these children to listen to you. The top picture is me, Stefanie, and Rachel, The second picture is of me and two of the ladies with their babies. We spent a lot of time talking to them because they understood a little bit of english, and then the bottom picture is of a few of the boy playing.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Last week we had a free day so me and my two friends Lindsey and Eliza decided that we wanted to just go out to west jerusalem and go to a few of the many sites that are on our long list on things that we should do while we are here. We went to a windmill, the YMCA tower (which you climb a ton of stairs and then you can overlook the whole city), the king david hotel, a cool park, and a few other cool places. We had so much fun being in a small group and being able to do what we wanted and just roaming the city.
Eliza and I in front of the cool windmill.

We had fun taking random pictures everywhere and not having to worry about other people waiting around for us (this is the great thing about be able to go out in small groups) Self timer is a great thing!
Last week we also went on a fun field trip to some places and the two that I really loved was going to the site where David slew Goliath. While we were there we read about the story and a few people ahead of time had created a Goliath with several boxes stacked on top of each other and so we all got slings and we got to try and hit rocks at Goliath and bring him down.
I dont know if you can see it but in front of all these people is the Goliath and they are all slinging at him.
Me attempting to do it. I wasnt very successful though. Ha
After that we went to some random caves that I dont really think had any significance but we went spelunking through the caves and got pretty dirty but had tons of fun!

This was the view from the center the other night as we were getting back from the center. BEAUTIFUL!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fun fun fun!

LIONS, and TIGERS and BEARS! OH MY!A few days ago we had a whole day that was free which meant we could do whatever our hearts desired whether is be stay at the center and study (who does that? ok so maybe I havent been the best student but I'm only here once!) or shopping in the old city, or visiting sites. Well our hearts were desiring to see some animals and we desided that we were going to spend the day at the biblical zoo here in Isreal. Since it is a biblical zoo there is a ark that is supposed to be like Noah's ark and this a picture of us trying to climb up onto the ark.
We just spent the day roaming around the large zoo fully entertained by all the animals and just having fun taking pictures all over the place. We were loving the elephants and decided to act like them.

The leopard got right up to the glass and this is a picture I took. One of them had a missing leg and was hopping all over the place, it was actually pretty sad.
After our fun day at the zoo we werent really feeling like going home quite yet so we took a taxi over to west jerusalem which is the nicer part of the city and we ate some gelato which is beyond delicious. I wish I took a picture of the store with all of the gelato's because they are just so yummy looking.
Once we finally got back to the center we had an egyptian night where everyone put on some of the items that they recently bought in egypt and we had a fashion show where everyone could show off their stuff, we rocked out to egyptian music and had fun looking at a slide show of pictures from the trip. I dont know if I have ever said this but it is seriously always a party here
with things constanly going on. They just like to keep us on the go all the time but it is so fun!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Trains, taxis, boats, camels, and planes!

Those are all of the forms of traveling we experienced while in egypt.... oh ya and buses and a horse drawn carriage! I think that by the end of the trip we were all sick of traveling!

Boat ride out to ride our camels!
Meet 50 cent! this was the camel I got to ride with the most awesome name ever.. I was so excited!
My friend Lindsey on her camel! I dont have any picture of me on my camel because I couldnt really take any of myself but I know other people got some so I will have to take it from them.
This is my egypt roommate and I right before checking out the nasty dinner and sleeping on the train! definitely an interesting experience.

The breakfast they brought us in the morning which contained a piece of bread, a roll, a cresant, and some fruit bread... could there be any more bread! ha

Well things are great! Today a couple of us went to the biblical zoo today and yesterday went to some botanical gardens. Tomorrow we have a field trip to Jericho. They just are always keeping us busy. I cannot believe I have already been here for a month. Crazy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pyramids and Sphynx

On the first day that we were in Cairo we woke up pretty early in the morning had breakfast and were off for the day. First we went straight to the pyramids (which were right near our hotel) where we spent a lot of time taking pictures and walking around looking at them. We then went to the sphynx and then went to a papyrus factory where they showed us how they make papyrus and we got to spend some time looking around at all the papyrus and buy some if we wanted. It was really neat finally seeing all these sites that I have always heard about to finally see them in person. Later that night we went to the airport and flew to Luxor which we were going to be for the next three days but it was challenging because we were only allowed to bring our one little backpack so it was stuffed to the max with clothes and anything else I might need for the next three days.

Me kissing the sphynx!

Walking like an egyptian in front of the pyramids. Wow I seriously look like a giant in this picture. haha
In front of the largest pyramid of Giza
The lady at the papyrus factory demonstating to us how to make papyrus with the many different papyrus in the background.

Many more from egypt is to come. There was just so much we did that I just have to do it a little bit at a time.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I just got back from a week long trip to Egypt and I had such a great time but have never been more happy to be happy to be back in Israel with clean water that we can brush our teeth with and just being able to eat all the fruit and salad we want to without being scared that we might get sick. Luckily I made it through the whole trip without getting to sick besides a little sore throat and a runny nose but that is ten times better than what I could have gotten so I am very greatful. I took around 400 pictures from the trip which I will not put all on here but it might take me a few posts to do the egypt trip. Last sunday was the beginning of our drive and for some reason I was thinking we were driving straight to egypt but we didnt. On sunday we drive right to the boarder line where we stayed at a kibbutz (which is is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture.) Before arriving at the kibbutz though we toured a couple of places.

This is a sign that was on the side of the road that we were all laughing at. Our bus driver stopped on the side of the road just so we could take a picture of it. How awesome is that. haha.

Alright well more is to come but right now I should probably be studying for my old testament midterm which is tomorrow! Love you all