Hey folks! More photos from my trip to Israel. Some of these have already been posted on Twitter, but most of them I’m posting for the first time.
Jerusalem. I don’t understand why I find the sight of mountainside cityscapes so immensely satisfying.
In Tsfat, a tiny man took a stroll atop my head. Truly a magical city.
Seriously, though, Tsfat was beautiful.
Billboard in Tsfat.
In an archeological dig at Biet Gurvron. We dug into the dirt, looked for artifacts, hauled the dirt out in buckets, and sieved the dirt looking for more artifacts. I feel sure that this will be the only time in my life the phrase “please pass me the pickaxe” will pass my lips.
Me with a pottery shard I found. The shard (along with many others) was categorized according to the room it was found in; now the real archeologists will wash it and see if it has any usefulness for their project.
I’ve met a LOT of authors on this Israel trip. Including these four: Dr. Chaim Peri (with the mustache), Shmuel Yilma, Goldy Moldavsky, and Meir Shalev.
(Okay, in three of those four cases, I didn’t “meet” them so much as “I got to hear them speak in a small room.” But I can honestly say I’ve met Goldy and she’s awesome.)
In Jerusalem, our group got to visit an archeological site that isn’t yet open to the general public. (PJ Media knows people!) Up above is an artist’s rendition of what the site looked like over 2000 years ago.
And here I am, actually on that ancient road, which is still being dug out. Which was cool, but not the coolest part.
After that, we walked through the 2000+ year-old water drainage tunnel! We walked three quarters of a mile through this tunnel, most of it narrow enough so that my shoulders brushed the sides, sometimes so narrow that I had to take off my backpack and turn sideways to proceed. Our guide to this dig (who was not our usual guide) didn’t warn us that we’d be going through this tunnel, nor how long it would be, so walking through it felt extra surreal and thrilling.
The drainage tunnel came out by the foundations of the Western Wall. Because these stones were never intended to be seen, they’re not nicely finished like the stones of the Wall above the ground are. (We also visited the Wall in the usual place later that day. The area where men get to visit the Wall was much larger, and hence much less crowded, than the area where the women get to visit the wall).
In your face, Paris and Manhattan!
In an Orthodox quarter of Jerusalem. Our guide described this wall as “Facebook for the Ultra Orthodox community.”
Possibly the most exciting moment of the trip: We visited the lab where experts work to preserve the Dead Sea Scrolls. This lab is not open to the public, so we were very lucky to be able to visit. This is an actual Dead Sea scroll we saw, not a reproduction. It’s sewn between two pieces of specially-made cloth – the sewing only touching the cloth around the scroll, not the scroll itself – so it can be held in place without any damaging residue.
The Hebrew on this scroll, which was written somewhere around 400 BCE, was legible to the folks in our group who are fluent in Hebrew.
A bottle of cleaning fluid in the lab. I can only assume this product is made from ground-up tiny magical creatures.