Purim in Israel is pretty crazy, like Halloween in the US. There was a party in the Abraham Hostel on Wednesday (I went as a babushka and Evan was Theodore Hetrzl, the father of modern Zionism). Thursday, there were big parties in cities like Tel Aviv, but, because Jerusalem is a walled city, it is celebrated a day later, on Friday. It is a mitzvah on Purim to drink wine and other inebriating drinks. =D
This week Evan is away in Poland on a Auschwitz Jewish Center Program trip, an educational Holocaust and Jewish life trip. The five-day program takes the group to Krakow and Auschwitz, with in-depth tours of different concentration camps, which I'm sure he'll tell you more about later.
Today, some friends from Hebrew U and I took a trip to Jericho, the lowest permanently inhabited place on earth. A city, below sea level, located near the Jordan river in the West Bank. The seven of us rented a private taxi that took us all around. We visited Hisham's Palace, the Sycamore Tree, Mount of Temptation, Tell es-Sultan and of course ate delicious shwarma!
Hisham's Palace- An site of archaeological remains of an Umayyad empire winter palace, with Roman bath houses and beautiful mosaics, many of which are now stored in the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem. The palace was destroyed in 747 by an earthquake. (pics to come on facebook).
Here is an article about the Sycamore Tree.
Mount of Temptation- Next we took a cable car ride to the top of the Mount of Temptation, an amazing and panoramic view of the Jordan Valley. According to some Gospels and the Book of Deuteronomy, this was the site where Jesus spent forty days and forty nights fasting and meditating during the temptation of Satan. On the face of the Mountain is a Greek Orthodox Monastery, 350 meters above sea level. The Monastery, unfortunately, was closed.
Today was fun, I learned a lot, spent a lot of time in the sun, which is a treat, and the checkpoint was super easy! This week I am also going to visit Yad Vashem.
Hebrew class has gotten a lot harder, but I'm learning how to say a lot and can pick up parts of conversations which is awesome.
phew! hope you enjoy the update! Check facebook for pictures!