Saturday, October 18, 2008


From October 11, 2008

I haven't written for a couple weeks because not as much has happed
recently. At least for us, but for everyone else in Jerusalem it has
been an exciting time. We have been under Lockdown day after day. We
are not allowed out on any religious holiday no matter what
denomination it is. When we first came home it was the end of Ramadan,
followed by a couple days of feasts and parties. It was also the
Jewish New Year, and the two day celebration of the Day of Atonement.
It has added up to a lot of holidays.

School and real life has also started to set in. We had our first test
yesterday, and staying inside to study while I'm in Jerusalem is not
my favorite thing to do, but lowering my GPA doesn't sound too great
either. It's a hard balance.

We did get to spend a little time outside this week. We got to pick
olives from the many trees that are on the grounds of the center. It
was much more fun than I thought it would be. And it's pretty cool to
pick olives on the Mount of Olives, where the center is located. Next
week we will press the olives to make oil.

Last night we went to the Western Wall at sunset for beginning of the
Jewish Sabbath. It was a sight to behold. The Wailing Wall is
separated into portions for men and women. The men are allotted 3/4 of
the wall and the women only a small portion. After talking to some
Jewish girls I finally understood why. Jewish men are required to pray
three times a day, and they must go to the wall or a synagogue. But
the women only pray twice and are permitted to pray at home. These two
girls explained to us that the women are usually at home. They
expressed their love for Judaism and family. They said they can't wait
to have big Jewish families. We aren't allowed to talk about the
church here, but we told them that we perfectly understood their
desire. There is a lot of noise and commotion for a place of prayer.
And every once and a while you can hear loud dancing and celebrating
from the male portion of the wall. We peeked over the wall and saw a
large circle of Jewish soldiers dancing with their guns clanking
against each other.

I have been here for six weeks now, and only have nine left. The
passage of time is so interesting to me. My life here is full of new
experiences almost every single day. At first it felt like I had been
here for an eternity, and now I am begging for time to slow down. I
want to stay here forever.

Six weeks worth of love from Yisrael

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