The Jewish roots of Christianity

Home » Discussion » ZolaBlog: Israel

Life on the ground in Israel

They had goose this time

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 by Sandra

Israel is still celebrating their 60th anniversary, with parades and celebrations all over town.  Yesterday, was the big Jerusalem Day parade.  Sunday evening will see the celebration of Shavuot or Pentecost at the Western Wall.   I am really glad to be here during this time.

I confess, I did have the almond croissant from Aroma Cafe, yesterday.   It is one of my comfort foods and I was ready for it.

Last night, Will and I ate at Foccacia. The glassed-in patio has huge windows that open, so the evening breeze was terrific. One of my favorite restaurants and it was as good as ever.  It is not a Kosher restaurant (as they serve bacon and cheese) but one of the featured items on the menu is goose (kosher).  But the last several times I have eaten there, they have been out of the goose.  My favorite salad on the menu is chicken with avacado, but sadly they were out of avacado.  However, they had goose this time.  Will and I laughed with the waitress about never having goose, and now having goose and no avacado.   It is probably one of those things that you had to be there to appreciate.

It was an early evening for me and my jet lag.

What a difference a good night’s sleep makes in my life. Gorgeous morning (low 70’s) with a light breeze.  It is going to be warm today (mid 80’s).  Clear skies and still no rain.   I headed out this morning and greeted everyone at the Frankforter Center—Boker tov, (good morning) and B’seder (fine). It just makes me think I can really speak Hebrew. I bought a handmade newborn-sized jumper with matching hat.  I wanted a baby gift and it is just so cute.  I got my paper and headed back for breakfast.

This morning I went to the Jewish Quarter because one of the first things I like to do in Jerusalem is visit the Western Wall (not wailing wall, we no longer wail), pray, and put my written prayers in the Wall.   I finished and then I was off to visit old friends.  I met with Moishe at Shorashim.  We had a short visit and I headed to Blue and White Gallery.   I visited with them and then headed to meet Will for lunch downtown (Ben Yehuda).

As I am walking from the Jaffa Gate to Ben Yehuda, I can smell the Rosemary plants.  They grow like weeds and are very large in Israel. The aroma today is powerful.

After lunch, I have some computer work to do.  The pecan pie is in the oven and I will probably make my famous spaghetti for dinner.  Life is good.

I have the Jerusalem syndrome

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 by Sandra

Will and I ate well last night.  The pecan pie was delicious (I must be getting use to the oven) and the spaghetti was pretty good too.  We had a quiet evening and I turned in early.  It takes me a couple of nights to get over the jet lag.  It was a gorgeous evening as I walked to my B&B.  Warm, but lovely.

I woke up early, thinking I may be on Israeli time instead of feeling like it is 2am all day.   I have the Jerusalem syndrome.  Not that I think I am Queen Esther, or King David, but my leg muscles are aching.  Remember that Jerusalem is built on hills, so my leg muscles are feeling the ups and downs of these hills.   I walk almost everywhere.  I think I am good shape because I walk three miles almost everyday back in the States, but these “hills” are tough!  As I say, they are all uphill and very few downhill.  I am amazed that Kathleen Murray runs when she is here in Israel.  My hat is off to her. It also justifies my almond croissant and glida (ice cream) that I eat.

This morning is warm—not as cool as yesterday.  It will probably be in the mid 80s by the time the day is over.  Add walking to that temperature and it gets really warm.  Water is a must.

I have gotten a couple of emails from friends who are visiting Israel before the group gets here on Tuesday.  Dr. Randy Byrd, his wife Debbie, and their daughter Rachel will arrive on Sunday.  So I will see them Monday and fellowship.  He was one of Zola’s doctors and was always there when Zola called.   They met Zola on a tour many years ago.  It will be good to see them.

Fred and Linda Stair will also arrive in Jerusalem on Sunday with their daughter.  They have been to Israel several times and are excited to be back to the Holy Land.   We will try and get together.  Truly, my greatest joy is to see people fall in love with Israel and see their Bibles come alive.

News in the Jerusalem Post is all about Senator Obama and Senator Clinton speaking to AIPAC.  I watched some of the speeches last night and I must say they all sound like they support Israel.  We’ll see if they are as good as their word.  I initially typed “work”  instead of “word,” but I think their work and word is the  same.  Senator McCain had spoken earlier in the week and was also quoted as being a friend of Israel.   November should be interesting.

More news in the Jerusalem Post today:  an interesting article about Robert Kennedy written by Lenny Den-David.  “RFK was a strong supporter of Israel, and that support was genuine, deep, and heart felt.  And it cost him his life.  His oldest daughter, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, told me on his 30th yahrzeit, He was killed by an Arab terrorist (Sirhan Sirhan) because of his support for Israel.  Sirhan’s motives, which were expressed in his diary and trial—were fueled by his anger over Israel’s victory exactly one year earlier.”

According to Israel Today, “as of Monday, the NIS, New Israeli Shekel, became one of 17 world currencies that can be traded in multi-currency banks.  Mazel Tov!

I am going to have dinner tonight with the Meyers family from Immanuel Tours, our land agents in Israel.  We have tried for several months to get together and we have finally connected.  A little business and lots of good food and fellowship.  I mention fellowship often, but it is important to me to be with Believers.  We are all on the same page: loving the Lord and Israel.

I love waffles

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008 by Sandra

It is hard for me to believe it is Tuesday.  I left Dallas on Sunday for Israel and all in all, the trip went well.  I forgot about the security issues until was in Newark airport.  The gate for the Continental flight to Tel Aviv is the last gate in the terminal.  I find that to be the case in every airport that I have flown, when the flight is going to Israel (just in case something happens, the whole airport is not harmed.)  The gate is also partitioned off from the rest of the gates and no one can get in or out after everyone has gone through yet another security check at the gate.  I suppose I should be grateful for the procedures and I should feel safer.  Actually, it makes me realize what kind of world we live in and I am reminded that God is in control of my life, not man.

My B&B was waiting for me and after dinner with Will at an outdoor restaurant, I headed for a good night’s sleep.  The weather last night was just about perfect for sitting outside.  It was so good to see my son. The extra suitcase was transferred with much delight from Will.  I even managed to add a few cans of tuna at the last minute. Children are a blessing.

I got up a little early, but not bad for the first night with all that goes with jet lag.  I am trying not to think that it could be three in the morning back in the States.

Funny how some things are so comforting.  Breakfast at the B&B is one of those things for me.  I had my egg salad, tomatoes, lots of coffee, and melon.  I had walked earlier to get my paper and check out the street where I live for new stores.  The Italian restaurant is gone and has been replaced with a waffle bar.  I know I will try that one out.  I love waffles.

I ran a few errands and will meet Will for dinner.  I try and take the first day easy and will hit the ground running tomorrow.  I have some sites and some restaurants that are just asking for my attention.

The big news is the drought that Israel is having.   As I drove in on Monday, the fields are  brown.  It is late in the year for rain, but they could sure use some.

Thank you for your prayers for travel mercies.

I have decided what I am going to wear

Friday, May 30th, 2008 by Sandra

Shabbat Shalom.

What a week!  I always think I am ready for the tour and then something happens and I start all over again.  We were filming Tuesday and Wednesday for the new Ezekiel series, so the week was really packed with activities.  We went back for filming on Thursday, which was unexpected, but the series is now done and is in editing.

I have packed Will’s bag with the usual: pecans, Karo syrup, and pie crusts.  I am taking a smaller bag for him this time, so there is not room for the mac and cheese and tuna.  That will have to wait for the Fall tour.   Still, lots of goodies for him.

I must confess that I get so excited getting ready for Israel.  I am hoping the weather will be nice.  It could go either way… hot and very hot.

My bags are almost packed.  Let’s just say that I have decided what I am going to wear, and that is the biggest challenge for me.   I will finish Saturday night.

My grandson, David, graduates from High school Saturday afternoon and I am looking forward to that.  What a milestone in his life.  He is off to Texas Tech.  As an Aggie mother, I am sure, we will have some interesting football watching to do together.

I will leave Sunday for Israel and arrive Monday afternoon.  The group gets in on the 10th, so I will have a week to see things and eat at the wonderful restaurants I have come to think of as home.  My B&B awaits me.

Please pray for travel mercies for me and for the group.  We will have almost 100 people.  I must thank Immanuel Tours in advance for their hard work.    They are just the best.

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me this time.  It is always an exciting adventure with Him.

Sharing some pictures I took

Monday, April 14th, 2008 by Sandra

Shalom from Texas! I must admit it is good to be in my own home after so many hotels and B&B’s. Thank you all for the prayers and emails.

The trip back to Dallas was very uneventful, for a change. Planes were on time, luggage was right at the weight limit, and the pecan pie was all eaten.

I am sharing with you some pictures that I took. They are of Zvi, our head guide, at the Israel Museum; Will and I at Tell Dan; Joni, our second guide, at Bet Shen; and Jeff, as we are filming. I thought you would like to see us in Israel.

The June tour is just around the corner!

I am already planning my next trip here

Friday, April 11th, 2008 by Sandra

Tomorrow I leave Israel and head back to Texas.  I am already planning my next trip here in June and am counting the days.  Hard to explain:  I am ready to be back in Texas, but I am already missing my spiritual home. I am soaking in the local color even deeper today. The smells, sounds and the people of Israel.  The weather has been gorgeous.  Clear, sunny and warm.  The Lord willing, I will be back in June. 

As I was fixing dinner last night, Will got a call from Josh, who is in Israel with Gateway Church (Texas).  Josh and Will had worked for Berg Productions in Germany last Spring.  Plus, we were all at the Joel Rosenberg conference yesterday.  What a small world.  Good to see him and fellowship.  We shared the pecan pie. 

I have a few errands to do before Shabbat begins—mainly at the grocery store. 

Will and I had lunch at Foccacia.  Always good.  I will probably  get one last Almond croissant at Aroma Cafe.

Just taking it easy and getting ready to pack.

Thank you again for your prayers and for reading the blog.

Joel Rosenberg Epicenter Conference

Thursday, April 10th, 2008 by Sandra

Most of today, I have spent at the Joel Rosenberg Epicenter Conference, in Jerusalem.  I was encouraged by Joel, Pastors Skip Heitzig, and Chuck Smith.  An old friend of the ministry, Marty Goetz was the featured singer.  Good to hear his voice again.

The following statistics were released today in the Jerusalem Post.  The survey was done at the request of Joel and is very interesting.

As Epicenter Conference opens, The Jerusalem Post provides a sneak peak at an exclusive new Joshua Fund poll of American Christian views of the Jewish State.

By Joel C. Rosenberg

(Jerusalem, Israel, April 10, 2008) — At the Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem today, The Joshua Fund released partial results of an exclusive poll of “American Christian Attitudes Towards Israel and the Middle East.” Full results will be posted soon on my weblog. What follows is a front-page story in The Jerusalem Post. 


U.S. Christians ‘morally’ support Israel 
By Etgar Lefkovitz 
The Jerusalem Post 
April 10, 2008 

More than 80 percent of American Christians say they have a “moral and biblical obligation” to support the State of Israel, and half say Jerusalem should remain its undivided capital, according to a survey released on Thursday. 

While evangelical Christians are the strongest supporters of the Jewish state, strong pro-Israel convictions cut across all key Christian denominations in the US, according to the poll carried out on behalf of the Washington-based Joshua Fund, an evangelical organization. 

Eight-two percent of respondents said they had a “moral and biblical obligation” to love and support Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” 10% disagreed and 8% did not know. 

Eighty-four percent of Protestants agreed with the statement (including 89% of Evangelicals), compared to 76% of Catholics. 

Half of the American Christians surveyed opposed Israel dividing Jerusalem with the Palestinians in a peace agreement, 33% were unsure and 17% thought it should be divided. 

Fifty-three percent of Protestants supported a united Jerusalem, as did 44% of Catholics. 

Evangelical Christians were most supportive of a united Jerusalem, with 62% in favor and 11% against. 

A plurality of the US Christians (44%) surveyed said they did not know whether a future Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would be a peaceful moderate democracy or a terrorist state, 32% said that it would be a terrorist state and 24% said that it would be a peaceful democracy. 

The survey found clear differences between Protestants and Catholics on the issue. 

Protestants were more likely to say a Palestinian state would be a terror state by a 10-point margin; Catholics were evenly split. Evangelical Protestants said a such entity would be a terrorist state by a 20-point margin, but non-evangelical Protestants said it would be a peaceful and moderate democracy by six percentage points. 

The belief that a Palestinian state would be a terrorist state was strongest among Republican and conservative Evangelicals. 

Nearly half (49%) of American Christians surveyed were interested in visiting Israel, including about quarter of both Catholics and Protestants who were “strongly” interested. 

Forty-seven percent of those polled were not interested in visiting. 

There are 50 million-60 million evangelicals Christians in the US. 

Two-thirds of respondents said that if Iran developed nuclear weapons, it would eventually try to use them to attack Israel, 23% were unsure and 13% said Iran would not attack. 

Finally, 45% said they would be more likely to support a US presidential candidate who would protect America from Islamic terrorism, protect Israel from a nuclear attack from Iran, oppose the division of Jerusalem and refuse to pressure Israel to make concessions on issues of national security, compared to 29% who said such positions had no effect on their vote and 9% who would be less likely to support such a candidate. 

The survey will be officially released on Thursday at a conference at the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyenei Ha’uma) organized by The Joshua Fund that is expected to be attended by 2,000 evangelical Christians from around the world. 

The non-profit organization aims to raise more than $100 million over the next three years to help Israeli victims of terrorism, and to fund humanitarian projects in Israel in education, health, welfare and immigrant absorption, and $20m. for Christians in the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq and Sudan, said Joel C. Rosenberg, the group’s founder and president. 

“Our support for Israel is unwavering and unconditional,” he said. 

The survey, which was conducted by McLaughlin and Associates by a telephone sampling of 1,000 American Christians last month, had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

A lady complimented me (in Hebrew)

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 by Sandra

The pecan pie turned out very well.  I would say probably my best effort.  Will has eaten about half of it already.

Will and I met with our friends Taki and Gavi at Tamago, a kosher sushi restaurant.  It has some of the best and freshest sushi I have had in a long time (here in Israel or in the States).  Really good. The Israeli’s eat late.  We got there at 7:30 and by the time we left at 9:30, there was hardly a seat or table to be had.   What makes it kosher sushi?  Mainly fish, no cheese, lots of veggies and of course, certified by a Rabbi.

Please note a change in the email address for Cindy and her Jerusalem Journal.  She has had so many responses to her site that she is asking that you contact her at a new address (see links on the right).  Thanks.   Her writing is so encouraging.  She is a gifted writer and story teller. 

As I walked to get my paper this morning, I was reminded that I have only a few days left before I head back to Texas and I have not finished making my “rounds.”  I have things to do and people that I like to talk to while I am here, and I just haven’t gotten it all done.  

I stopped in the Frankforter Center this morning, did some browsing and ended up buying a little something from them. I noticed that the pastries and coffee have expanded in service.  Will probably get the Hafuk (latte) tomorrow. They support the senior community with handicrafts from the seniors and other artists.  This shop is the one with the cute crochet dolls that I bought last time I was in Israel.  I visited with the laundry guys and the paper man.  

To walk on Bet Lechem street and have a sense of community is very special to me.  That they all speak Hebrew to me is a bonus.  That they lose me after “good morning” (boker tov) and “how are you” (ma nish ma) is okay too.  I was so excited this week when a lady complimented me (in Hebrew) on the scarf I was wearing.  She said she loved it and I understood enough of her Hebrew to say “todah” (thank you).  It is the little things in life. 

I must confess that I did go to Aroma yesterday and get an Almond croissant.  Probably my last until June. 

Weather is cool and clear.  Mid 60’s with sun.  

News from the Jerusalem Post:

Oldest Arched gate in the world Restored
The oldest gate in the world, located in Ashkelon hs been restored, nearly four thousand years after is was first built.  The Canaanite gate, which was constructed around 1,850 BCE as part of the port city’s fortifications, is believed to be the most ancient arched gate in the world.

Florida to host world’s largest Seder
According to a press release put out by the Israel Kabbala Center, some 5,000 people from Israel, Europe, and North and South America are expected to usher in the Festival of Freedom in Florida.

Israel education Center to open in U.S.
The first national center to provide resources for teaching about Israel at the pre-college level is being launched.   Lynn Schusterman announced the center’s launch Monday night in Boston before 1,300 day school educators at the nation assembly of Partnership fr Excellence in Jewish Education.

My plan for tomorrow includes dropping off the letters of protest at the Prime Minister’s office about the Temple Mount digging.  Thanks to all who sent letters.  They will be delivered as promised.   All we want is that any digging be certified and approved by the IAA, so that any Jewish artifacts are preserved properly. 

I’m off to downtown.  I have a little shopping (blessing) to do before I leave Israel.

It is quicker to walk

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 by Sandra

Sometimes it is easier to walk in Jerusalem instead of trying to get a bus or a taxi.  I found myself walking most of yesterday.  I don’t remember a time more crowded than now.  Our Israeli producer told us it is because it is the Passover season and everyone is on their way here. The Jewish people are required to come to Jerusalem three times a year:  Passover, Weeks, and Tabernacles.   Passover this year is April 19th. Not only am I seeing tourists, but lots of school kids and lots of people.  The buses and taxis are sitting in lines of traffic, so it is quicker to walk.

I took time yesterday to go to the Israel Museum.  I love Museums and try and go to one or two when and wherever I am traveling.  The Israel Museum is world-class.  Two of the exhibits I wanted to see were: Looking for Owners: Custody, Research, and Restitution of Art Stolen in France during World War II and Orphaned Art: Looted Art from the Holocaust in the Israel Museum.   Both were excellent.

Looking for Owners is on display for the first time in Israel.  Fifty three paintings by major European artists from the collection known as MNR from France, including works by Paul Cézanne, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Aelbert Cuyp, Edgar Degas, Eugene Delacroix, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and Claude Monet.  The exhibition focuses on the complex history behind the MNR holding — which were taken away from France during the second World War and are held today in custody by the French National Museums — and on the research conducted over the last decade to trace their hisory of possession and to identify right ownership.

Orphaned Art:  Showcasing paintings. drawings, prints, and books, together with a dozen examples of recovered Jewish ceremonial objects, this exhibition tells the story of art that was looted by the Nazis during World War II, discovered by the Allies in hiding places throughout Germany after the war, and brought to Israel during the early 1950’s by the Jewish Restitution Successor Organizations (JRSO).  The works — including paintings by Jan Both, Marc Chagall, Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, Egon Schiele, and Alfred Sisly — arrived with little if any documentation of prior ownership and have been held in custody by the Israel Museum since it inherited the holdings of the Bezalel National Museum in 1965.

I had to have a burger, so I headed to Burgers Bar.  Really the best in Jerusalem. Grilled in front of you and made with fresh bread and always fresh fixin’s.  They could give In-and-Out a run for their money.  I sat at an outside table and watched the crowds go by.  Lots of people and the weather was lovely.

I am still one of the few Americans at my B&B.  I hear French, Spanish and Hebrew.  The flavors of breakfast and the different cultures really wakes me up in the morning.

I am off to the grocery store. Israel is an amazing country.  I bought a wooden rolling pin for about $5 and then noticed at the grocery store that paper towels cost the same.

Will has been on a “Visa Vacation” and is due back today, so I am making him a pecan pie.  I brought the pie crust mix, pecans and Karo syrup with me from the States, so all I need to get are the eggs.

I was fixing the pie crust when the sirens went off this morning at 10am.  The alarm lasted about a minute and a half.  It made me think at bit and be glad that it was only a test. Anyway, the crust was easy to do (thank you Betty Crocker).  I hope it tastes good.

We lunched on their roof top patio

Monday, April 7th, 2008 by Sandra

I woke up to a cloudy day. Everyone is praying for rain. Yesterday started out warm and ended up with a few showers and cooler. Looks like Spring to me.

Finished filming yesterday in the Jewish Quarter. I interviewed Udi Merioz from the Blue and White Gallery and Cindy and Gary. The interviews are for the Ezekiel series and I really had a good time talking with them. Gary and Cindy have lived in Jerusalem about 6 years. They even met and married in Jerusalem. We lunched on their roof top patio, enjoying the views and the weather. We just always have a great time of fellowship. Udi’s family were one of the first Jews to return to the Old City in 1967. Quite a story.

News from the Jerusalem Post:

New IAF brass all Harvard graduates
When Maj. Gen Ido Nehustan takes up command of the Israel Air Force in May, Harvard University will be able to take a moment to be proud. Nehushtan and his two new deputies are all graduates of American’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher learning.

A ‘birthright’ for non-Jews?
Shmuley Boteach reports that one of the mistakes Israel makes is that of making Israel something of only Jewish concern. “The Jews are history’s most influential people, having given the modern world its three foundations: God (universal brotherhood), the Ten Commandments (law), and the Messiah (progress aimed at perfecting the world). Those ideas were all born in the very soil of Israel, the world epicenter of faith and spiritual transcendence.” Good article.

A full page tribute to Charlton Heston
As Moses and Ben-Hur, gentile Heston often played proud Jews.

I am off to do some touring of Jerusalem.