July 3rd, 2008


So much to write

I have so much to write and say and every time I sit down, it's the end of the day and I get too tired to write big thoughts.

I have some more photos of Jerusalem from the other day - and tomorrow P and I are off to J-town (as we call it) again. This time to get the "Christian things" (as I call it) done and also to do some more chachka shopping. We are hoping to get into the Dome of the Rock also. (Here's the closest I have been to it so far)


I think one of the things that strikes me most about Israel is the constant contradictions - it's something I noticed when I lived here and I love it. I think to live here you must understand and appreciate them and to understand the politics and the society here you must understand and appreciate them (or go mad - your choice). So here is an example of what I mean. I love the comingling of the old and the new. Some of the places are so old you can't even get your head around it and then on top of the stone will be a McDonalds sign or something.

Here is P and D shopping down one of the streets off the Western Wall plaza:

Here is me taking a picture of the rest of Jerusalem through one of the turrets in the wall (of Jerusalem):

That kinda blows my mind, me standing there with my digital camera taking a snap of a 2000 year old city where maybe a guard stood watch some time in the crusades.

Or this, which is maybe my favourite so far:

Some boys playing soccer. And if you look very closely, instead of playing "shirts and skins" they are playing "shirts and tzitzit" - a tzitzit is a prayer vest type thing that religious men wear all the time under their shirts.

Here is the final J-town shot for today - the Damascus Gate:

Diaspora Museum

According to my notes, the only other thing I wanted to post about was our visit to the Diaspora Museum, at the University of Tel Aviv. We went on Monday I think and I have been waiting this long in order to be able to accompany the post with this really bad (grandpa) joke that goes along with this picture:

In case you can't read it, the plaque reads "Albert Einstein Square" and D says, shouldn't that be: E equals M C Square? Bah Doom Doom.
Worth the wait, no?

So the Diaspora Museum is a museum about the history of world Jewry outside of Israel. I noticed that there was very little, if anything at all, about Australian Jewry. That was a bit disappointing.

There was an amazing commemoration for fallen Jewish people - this sort of column of interlocking grid that looked like cages inside cages with a stream of lights running vertically up the centre all the way to the roof, several floors above - looking like imprisoned light rising up towards heaven, I guess. It was very powerful to stand at the bottom of it, in any case.

We found some great quotes to a couple of installations. I think this was probably my favourite:
A rabbi whose community does not disagree with him is not really a rabbi, and a rabbi who fears his community is not really a man.

There was also just such an overpowering sense of the richness and diversity of people and times. It was really very inspiring, I guess. Which is probably something I also have taken away from the Yad Vashem visit and wandering through Yako today too. That you can be beaten and trampled down but from that can come courage and bravery and creativity. So many interesting times and eras and communities through space and time were documented. I found so many aspects of myself called to in all sorts of bits of the history. Like this quote: A people embarked on a long journey, with only a book as its guide and so many interesting people - lots of different kinds of publishing enterprises, and places/courts of high discussion and debate (including in Baghdad which was soooo cool) and also a section on the scientists and philosophers and so on. Most of all, I got the reminder to dream big and aim for the stars - why not? From free thought comes free ideas.

I wandered around with D and we might have giggled and laughed through a lot of it as well as discussed other bits. We were looking at some religious artifacts and I saw this wedding ring that was *enormous* and I was like - Really??? That's a ring? And D thought perhaps it was the ceremonial ring used at the chupah and belonging to the Shule. And then he was telling me about a particular community wedding ring that has the whole of the city of Jerusalem on the top and I was like "ooh I want that ring!" And he says to me: Not *too* Jewish? (related back to the Magen David shopping from like Sunday!) Too funny. I thought that you could most certainly take someone's eye out with a ring like that.

I also really really liked the models of all the different styles of Shules (synagogues) from around the world. Was just stunning and so interesting - even one from China. Some of the European ones were amazing. And of course, another example of where the text next to the display reads: here is a beautiful and amazing thing, and then the Nazis destroyed it. You know, even if you hate Jews, why ruin amazing architecture? I just don't get it.

Warning, a second grandpa joke in the same post and this one only, like, 4 people reading this will get.
One of the models had this bizarre tiling on the roof which was crooked and not how you would expect to tile the top of a building. D says: I wonder why you would tile a building like that and I reply: maybe it's in Rashi script?

Bah doom doom

I owe emails. I love you. I am tired. I may get to them tomorrow night although I may be tired from J-town. At least now, the blog is up to date. I feel better for it.