We are considering establishing a new school in order to prepare those interested in taking their lives in their own hands by driving themselves around in Israel. We're thinking of calling it:
The Shalom School of Offensive Driving
Here you’ll receive hands-on field training to learn the essential skills necessary to peacefully and calmly drive while in Israel. You’ll learn where the edges of your vehicle are so you can safely, efficiently, and with precision, weave through traffic while traveling at high speeds down the freeway. Included is instruction on when and how to use the medians to avoid being caught in traffic snarls.
These skills will also apply while driving in city traffic when you suddenly need to turn left from the right-hand lane, forcefully merge between lanes, and dodge oncoming traffic while avoiding double-parked cars along a two-way street.
We’ll also have beginner through master classes on when and how to use your horn to express your impatience, or to protect nearby drivers by warning them of their mistakes due to their inexperience.
If your interest is in motorcycles, our class, Threading a Camel Through the Eye of a Needle, will teach you the essential basics in choosing which two lanes of vehicles to scoot between, how to judge the distance between them, which lane is likely moving the quickest, and when is the best time to take the sidewalk.
You’ll learn when and when not to close your eyes and hold your breath, that courage is your only option, and that every moment is an opportunity to pray for mercy and protection.
Finally, you’ll learn that a vehicle is merely a useful tool with which to move about and that dents and scratches are the Badges of Bravery that testify of your many successful arrivals to your destination.
If you’re interested in applying for admission to our school please phone our office at 1-800-DRV-ISRL.
I thought I'd be able to write every few days while here in Israel. It seems, however, that I haven't been able to get my thoughts together long enough to get them down.
Traveling with other people takes up a fair amount of space in my mind, not to mention all the different things and places we've experienced, leaving less time for ruminating. I want to tell you about where we've been, but I also want to try to express to you how it feels to be here.
For the first week and a half, it was pretty hot and humid ~ mid 80's, which is way out of the comfort zone for this cool weather Pacific North-westerner ~ but has cooled off into the mid 70's, thank goodness!
It didn't occur to me until this morning that we are at about 2500 feet in elevation here in Jerusalem, which also challenges my sea-level legs. All in all, I should be in better shape when I return home than when I arrived here.
This past Thursday we traveled to Itamar, a community just north of Jerusalem in Samaria, which was established in the mid-80's. We wanted to connect with Rabbi Moshe and Leah Goldsmith, who were one of the original families to establish the community. When we arrived, they embraced us with open arms, inviting us to enjoy snacks and drinks in their beautiful sukkah. Their hospitality was warm and generous.
When the community began, there was no water or electricity and they had to drive to Jerusalem for groceries. Over the years the families have developed their community to include raising chickens, organic gardening and a goat farm. Much of their abundant harvest is sold to markets in Tel Aviv. They have paid a dear price to redeem and hold on to this beautiful land, losing friends and families to various terrorist attacks.
Spreading over several hill tops, the highest point in the community is Mountain 866, named such because it is 866 meters, or 2841', feet above sea level. The military has placed a tower used to listen to cell activity all the way into Syria. This helps protect the county as a whole. At the top of 866, on a clear day - which for us it wasn't - one can see the Sea of Galilee to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Dead Sea to the south. Even though we were unable to see the seas, the view was wide open and spectacular looking over the stony hills, valley of olive trees and various communities.
Sitting here in our apartment this afternoon, the sliding door is open, a cool breeze flows through. Voices rise from the large sukkah below us, men singing in Hebrew, pounding the tables with enthusiasm and joy, jangling cutlery and dishes all part of the musical composition. I imagine they are songs of thankfulness for the blessings of this Holiday, provision from the Father, and the anticipation of their - and our - coming Messiah.
Blessings to all of you, as well... until next time!
It's been a while. Way too long. The last time I visited this blog I was pulling those pesky weeds - yet again!
Well, not today! Today, I sit in our lovely apartment cooling off and winding down after a long hot walk down to the Western Wall to join in with all the faithful prayer warriors during Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. A time for coming before our Father, pulling back the curtain of our hearts and asking Him show us the places that need His merciful cleansing.
Descending the stairs from Hurva Square, through the security check point to enter the Western Wall Plaza, we could see men and women dressed in white garments. It's traditional to wear white garments on Yom Kippur. The whole day is spent in fasting and prayer and white is a sort of reminder of the purity and solemnity of the day.
No pictures are allowed while at the Western Wall Plaza on this day, but Ron took this one from the top of the stairs before reaching the Plaza. You can just see people gathered to the left of the stairway leading up to the Temple Mount.
As Julia, Zelta and I sat on on the women's side, we could hear singing and shouting coming from the men's side, and listened as groups of men marched and sang as they ascended the walkway up to the Temple Mount.
It was quite the 36 hour trek from Seattle to Jerusalem but we're so thankful to be here. It's sometimes hard to grasp that I get to be again.
We can stand on our balcony, look over red tiled rooftops and see the Dome of the Rock, Mount of Olives with the Jewish cemetery just below. Right now, the city is quiet, no cars or trains running, only police cars are allowed. In the distance I hear the Muslim prayers mixed together with the laughter of Jewish children playing on a balcony in the apartment building next door. What a contrast.
Until next time... Shalom from Jerusalem!
She's tall, wide, accommodating and 50' long. She carried us safely from Anacortes to Roche Harbor in just a few hours.
Pushing off from the dock, it was cloudy, but by the time we pulled into Roche Harbor the sun was out and stayed with us until it set the trees in silhouette that evening.
Motoring between islands large and small, with tip-of-the-iceberg like rock outcroppings here and there, we gawked our way, binoculars ever in hand, past homes, other boats and ferries. A small, woodsy cabin here, a captain's cottage there, some nestled in trees by the water, some open to the sun; some with companion yachts moored at their long and languorous private docks, extending their domain into the sea; one home with pink flamingos - yes, even out here there has to be one - and this one had two pairs sitting on the waterside, a classic stick figure version, only very tall, stretched high to be seen; and the other pair a blow up version resembling huge beached floaty's waiting with silly-smiley grins for their children to come play.
Come late afternoon, securely anchored, embraced by the island arms of Roche Harbor, we relaxed in the cockpit of the Tani Kaye, the little coffee table laden with snacks of salmon spread, pita chips, veggies and wine - with nothing at all to whine about. Later, an easy dinner of BBQ burgers, potato salad and chips.
At sundown, the dusky evening brought blasts and a boom, and air horns blowing all around, as the tradition of ceremony saluted the retiring of the colors honoring "Our America" and our neighborly Canadian friends.
Right now, looking out over the water I see a sea of anchor lights marking the location of each boat at anchor in the harbor. The fringe of trees at the top of the islands are all that remains of the silhouette against the darkening western sky. Lights of houses on the hillsides illuminate the spaces and occupants within.
Bobbing, bobbing, flowing with the winds of the currents. The moon, a little more that half full, casts it's arrow of light, only slightly rippled by a gentle breeze, across the water pointing directly in my direction, pointing to me.
My boating companions down below laughing, joking, dice in a cup - shakelshakelshakel crussshc! - as they spill onto the table. Apparently Paul's the winner of this round.
Sounds of laughing, joyous merrymaking float my way from boats across the water. We are almost still now. The water is calm. The sky almost dark. I am getting drowsy. Rock me to sleep, sweet Tani Kaye. Let me wake to the sunrise in the early morn.