March 4

Jerusalem A City For The Ages

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Jerusalem A City For The Ages

History of Jerusalem

A city I’d like to visit is Jerusalem. Known as the Holy City, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on the planet. In the Old Testament, Jerusalem is called Ariel which means Lion of God in Hebrew. A lion is a symbol of bravery and of the tribe of Judah from which the Messiah, Jesus Christ came from.

You can find vastly more on Jerusalem in the Bible, in travel guides and in history books than I could possibly cover in this short vlog. Rather I would tell you what fascinates me about the city and what I would like to see.

The Old City

The Old City Jerusalem (1)

Front and center would the Old City. At the crossroads of history and conflict, the Old City captures the essence of each of the religions so closely identified with Jerusalem. Divided into four quarters, Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian.

The Jewish quarter is home to the Wailing Wall. It is here that Jews believe that Abraham was going to sacrifice his son Isaac before God intervened. Today it serves as a sacred place to pray to God.

The Muslim quarter is the largest in the Old City and contains the Dome of the Rock from which Muslim’s believe Mohammed stepped off to heaven as part of his Night Journey.

In the Christian quarter, you’d find the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Christian scholars believe that the Church contains the sites where Jesus was crucified and the Tomb from which He rose from the dead. It would touch the core of my soul to visit the Church.

Bazaars

Bazaars Old City Jerusalem

What would it feel like to step back to the days of Jesus? Wander the alleys of the Old City and you might hear the walls or buildings whispering to you. And the bazaars? Baked goods, spices, clothing, jewelry, rugs, fresh nuts, pottery, leather goods, souvenirs are among the array of things you can consider. But the best part I imagine would be to sense the vibe in the air as shoppers mingle with residents and vendors, voices engaged in that most human of dialogue, buying, selling, and just enjoying humanity.

The King David Hotel is considered the finest in Israel!

Another place I’d want to visit is the King David Hotel. A magnificent hotel, it’s considered the finest in Israel. It has witnessed a great deal of 20th century history. From 1938 to 1948, the hotel’s southern wing served as the military and administrative center of the British during that last days of the British Mandate.

The King David also provided temporary sanctuary to three former monarchs, King Alfonso XIII, of Spain in 1931, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie in 1936 and King George II of Greece in 1942, all forced to flee their homelands due to political upheavals or revolutions.

The Yad Vashem

The Yad Vashem

The Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the millions of Jews who died in the Holocaust, as well as those Jews and Gentiles who fought the Nazi barbarity. The name, Yad Vashem, means ‘a memorial and a name’. In the Hall of Names every name of every person slaughtered in the concentration camps is  remembered and honored. From what I’ve read of Yad Vashem, it is a place of reflection but also a place that forces you to confront the inhumanity of man.

The Dead Sea

If I had some extra time, I’d plan a day trip to the Dead Sea. So named because of the water’s high salt content that prevents any living organism from living in it. Salinity so high, a swimmer will float effortlessly atop the water’s surface. Supposedly bathing in Dead Sea mud, can be a healing and therapeutic experience. Years of anecdotal research, indicates Dead Sea mud might relieve pain from psoriasis, arthritis, lower back pain, acne, and other skin impurities.

Masada

Masada, is a fort located atop a rock mesa overlooking the Dead Sea some twelve miles to the east. History records that during the First Jewish-Roman War, nine thousand Roman troops, laid siege to the Masada mountain-top fort, where approximately a thousand Jewish rebels of the Sicarii clan, had taken refuge. Ultimately, the Romans captured Masada, but when they entered the fort, they supposedly found every Jewish defender had died or committed suicide rather than face capture.

While historians question some aspects of the story, it remains a source of great pride and inspiration to people the world over when considering battles against overwhelming odds.

I have only scratched the surface of this remarkable city. I hope you a chance to visit Jerusalem some day and maybe I’ll see you there!

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About the Author

Storyteller... weaving a tapestry of imagination through the lens of our collective humanity. What does this mean? Everyone is on the road of life with different experiences or narratives. Each of us has a story. What's yours?

Jack Bethel

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