Stefanella's Drive Thru

Israel, U.S., conflict, war, peace, humor, travel, romance, fashion, fun

A Day with the Dead December 17, 2008

A few weeks ago I went up to Jerusalem for some work.

I’ll be honest here – I don’t generally enjoy going up to Jerusalem.  Lots of reasons.  It seems busy – frenetic almost – and I find the overall energy to be heavy.  Much heavier than in Tel Aviv. Which isn’t surprising considering the city’s thousands of years of history and religious pull for Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

So when I go to Jerusalem, I have a tendency to tend to my business at hand and then get the hell out.  Quickly.  No offense my J-Town dwelling friends and neighbors. It simply is what it is.

When I went up this last time, however, my mindset was different.  I dunno why.  It just was.  I decided to make a day of my trip & combine pleasure with business.

So I rang up a curator friend a day prior and arranged for her to meet me at The Israel Museum and show me around.  Strike me down with curses as I walk the street of shame:  Fifteen years in Israel and I hadn’t yet been to the Israel Museum.

My friend first took me to the model city – a replica of Jerusalem as it was during the 2nd Temple i.e. a hair before Jesus‘ time.  My friend has been with the museum for two decades so she was able to provide history, point out different city sections and give tidbits about who was where back around 80 BCE.  It was a beautiful day, lots of sun and warm temps and loads of tourists checking out the model.  The sun bouncing off the gleaming white & gold model city was beautiful.

My friend then took me to the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed.  For the uninitiated, the Scrolls are 2000-year-old writings discovered half a century ago in caves east of Jerusalem.  The scrolls, scribed on parchment paper in Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew, are biblical, sectarian and apocryphal in nature and represent “the earliest evidence for the biblical text in the world.”

Effin’ wow.  I mean I’m not an over-the-top type when it comes to religion or religious history.  But seeing the parchment writings unfurled behind the glass casing in the very dimly lit shrine room was awesome.  But truly.  “They routinely have to switch the actual scrolls out with representations to let the scrolls rest,” my friend informed.  Effin’ wow.

We then moved on to the sculpture garden – I particularly liked the Botero Man on Horse and visited a wing showcasing Israel’s historical tidbits that included the bloodstained sheet of paper Yithak Rabin had in his pocket when he was fatally shot in 1985 and the first ever Israeli flag to be hoisted outside UN headquarters when statehood was declared in 1948.

Most of the museum is currently under construction so the visit wasn’t extensive.  I didn’t have time anyway.

But I DID have fun.  Who knew?  So with great pleasure I hereby formally announce:  I have a new attitude.  Thank you.  Amen.


2 Responses to “A Day with the Dead”

  1. Liza R Says:

    I’ve always loved Jerusalem. Going there gives me a spiritual lift of sorts (and you know how secular I am). It’s one of my favorite cities to visit.

  2. stefanella Says:

    And you see, the spiritual lift is not something I get there. While I marvel at the overall architecture and feel deep respect for holy sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Kotel tunnels or admire the beauty of the Old City cobblestone paths, the religion, for me, weighs heavily. It’s like you can feel the weight of the centuries everywhere.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s