This gallery contains 1 photo.

Check out this tub/shower in Jerusalem’s 4 star Grand Court hotel.  It only covers half of the opening.  Huh? I found it virtually impossible to avoid a flooded floor after taking a shower.  No matter how hard I tried to … Continue reading

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Nazareth Bike Shop

Nazareth, Israel - Bike Shop

Nazareth, Israel – Bike Shop

Young Shop Keepers

Young Shop Keepers

Walking along the streets of Nazareth, the line of bicycles caught my eye.  It’s not uncommon for the shop keepers to display their goods on the sidewalk. (Click here for another Nazareth street scene.)

Notice how gas cans are used as traffic cones to separate pedestrians from street vehicles, and, of course the discarded pop can, proving once again that Coke is a world-wide brand.

But, the prize of this experience was the two young shop keepers minding the bike shop. They sat at the front door to the shop hawking their wares to passers by, and were all too willing to pose for my picture.

Thought for the Day:  Be the reason someone smiles today.

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Summer’s Here!

Ava - summertime

Ava – summertime

Nothing says “summer is here” better than corn on the cob.  This two year old puts her chompers to good use on the first ear of the season.

Thought for the Day:  You’re going to look pretty funny trying to eat corn on the cob without any teeth.   The Blues Brothers

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Separation Wall

Israel's Separation Wall

Israel’s Separation Wall

In 1967, Israel was invaded by Jordan from the east and Egypt from the west.  The war ended six days later with Israel pushing Jordan all the way back across the Jordan River, seizing all of the land on the west bank of the Jordan River, and Egypt back across the Israel-Egypt international border, seizing the Gaza Strip.

The 2,200 square mile kidney-shaped area taken from Jordan is the disputed West Bank that is always in the news.  The West Bank has numerous pockets of Palestinian-controlled areas that are important to Christians, like Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerico.

My tour bus stopped in Bethlehem for some shopping.  After being pressured to buy a $8,000 nativity scene carved from olive wood, I quickly left the gift shop and walked two blocks down the street to get a better look at the Separation Wall.  The Israelis began construction of the wall in 2002; solid concrete, the wall at this point is 26′ high.  After taking this picture, I realized that Israel, my political ally, was on the other side of the wall, I was in Palestine.   Gulp.

Thought for the Day:  We shall never be able to remove suspicion and fear as potential causes of war until communication is permitted to flow free and open across international boundaries.   Harry S. Truman

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Old and New

Tiberias, Israel

Tiberias, Israel

Luxury hotels share the Tiberias skyline with ancient structures of Jesus’ time.  Located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, the town feels more like a resort town, where ancient ruins are neither maintained nor sought by religious pilgrims.  But, the town is important to Jews and Christians.

When the Romans crushed the Jewish rebellion and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, including the Second Temple, the Jewish population gravitated toward the Sea of Galilee.  Tiberias is where Jewish oral law was recorded in the first Jewish Talmud, and is one of Judaism’s four holy cities.  Tiberias is also central to many of Jesus’ travels.

My first recollection of Tiberias was as a young boy watching the movie, “The Ten Commandments”.  Charleston Heston was an oarsman on a slave ship, and after a long journey across what I thought was the ocean, the slaves were exhausted, spending every ounce of reserved strength just to make it to shore.  His ship was ordered to immediately return to Tiberias, which I thought was back across the ocean.  I didn’t know where Tiberias was, but it sounded exotic, and the look on Heston’s face was what stuck with me. Why I remember this, I have no idea, but now I’ve seen Tiberias for myself.   Wow!

Thought for the Day:  Hollywood is a place where people from Iowa mistake each other for stars.    Fred Allen

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Arab Youth

Hewie, Dewie and Lewie

I was walking alone in the courtyard of the Temple Mount, lagging behind my tour group, making my way to the Al Aqsa Mosque, when these three Arab boys came up beside me.

They were smiling and talking loudly to me, “Ma’Shem, Ma’Shem”.  I didn’t know what they were saying, let alone if it was Hebrew or Arabic.  So, I waved politely, smiled and said, “Shalom”.  That wasn’t what they wanted to hear, so they repeated “Ma’Shem, Ma’Shem!”, with more volume and urgency.  I was afraid they were telling me to “get out of Dodge”, but the tone was friendly rather than challenging.  I shrugged my shoulders and gave them that “Sorry, I have no idea what you’re saying” look.

The one in the light blue shirt, the one carrying a digital camera (must be the smart one) spoke calmly, “Name?”   Oh, they want my name (wallet, passport, camera, and what else?).  “Larry”, I answered.  They all repeated it, “Lairdy”.   I used their word, “ma’shem” to ask their name; their smiles got wider and made sounds that I could never duplicate, so, I nodded politely and in my mind I named them Hewie, Dewie and Lewie.

I smiled and asked them if I could take their picture.  They beamed and gladly posed for me (geez, what a lousy background, Dewie has a minaret coming out of his head).  I thanked them, and then they all held up their picture-taking devices; Hewie had the digital camera, Dewie had a cell phone, and Lewie an I-pad.  They each wanted a picture with me on their own device.  No problem … then they wanted two of them with me on each device, and every possible combination.

When there were two of them in the picture with me, I was in the middle with my arms around each of their shoulders, just like they posed for me.  I did this instinctively, without thinking. Then it hit me:  Is this okay?  Is this permitted on this holy site?  (Earlier, a couple in our group were told “NO TOUCHING” when she took her husband’s arm.)  Is this permitted period, is the decency police going to swoop down and stone this infidel? While these thoughts flooded my mind, I found myself backing up against the wall to feel my wallet pressed against by left butt cheek.  (Think positive.)

The photo shoot was over.  We were all giggles and smiles; I wished I had more time to talk with them.  I think all four of us learned something that day.

Thought for the Day:  The highest result of education is tolerance.    Helen Keller

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Team Party

Team Photo

Team Photo

Popsicle Headache

Popsicle Headache

After a grueling six game schedule of Blast Ball, these 3-4 year olds enjoy a team party.  Popsicle sticks keep them in one place while parents snap pictures for the kids’ scrap books … or more likely, their Facebook friends.

The popsicle sticks are so good and soooo cold that headaches on the bridge of the nose momentarily spoil the fun.

Thought for the Day:  Children make you want to start life all over.   Muhammad Ali






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Temple Mount

Dome of the Rock - Jerusalem

Dome of the Rock – Jerusalem

Biblical scholars and archaeologists agree that Temple Mount is the site of biblical King David’s repentance offering to the the Lord and where King Solomon, King David’s son, built “God’s House”, known as the First Temple (approx. 1,000 BC).

Scholars and archaeologists also agree that King Herod the Great built the Second Temple on the same site.  But, Herod wanted to greatly enlarge the courts around the temple so he leveled the top of Mount Moria and expanded the Temple Mount, which covers 27 football fields.  The Al-Aqsa Mosque (Dome of the Rock), completed in 691 AD, was built on this vast courtyard over the summit of Mt. Moria, where Muslims believe the prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven.  It is the third most holy site for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina.

Jews consider this a sacred site as well, where Abraham offered to sacrifice his son Isaac, but non-Muslims are not allowed inside the Mosque.  Even though the Temple Mount is inside Israeli-controlled areas, Islamic rules and customs are respected.

Thought for the Day:  Everybody likes to go their own way — to choose their own time and manner of devotion.  Jane Austen



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