I truly do not know where to start. I am never at a loss for words when it comes to writing my blog or my travel column for the “Vegas Voice”. But as I write this blog I really don’t know where to start.
There are just so many thoughts going through my head as I reflect on my recent trip to Israel. This is my fifth visit to Israel; the Holy Land for the three major western religions and you would think my past trips would prepare me for the sights and sounds I would see. Not so. This trip was so different and so much more than any of my previous trips.
In Jerusalem we visited the Garden Tomb, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, walked the Stations of the Cross, visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as well as Sheppard’s Field and that’s just a start. We looked over Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, viewed one of the oldest known writings of the Old Testament, the Dead Sea Scrolls. We swam, or should I say floated in the Dead Sea and descended the mountain top fortress of Masada.
I suppose I am overwhelmed by the trip because I never experienced Israel in this fashion. My experience, in the past, had been primarily from the Jewish point of view. And there is much to be experienced from this perspective. As the Jewish State the sense of pride one feels as this country has evolved since 1948 is immense. And the countries sensibilities as a Jewish state is unique.
Having the opportunity to experience a visit from a primarily Christian point of view only enhanced my feeling for Israel. I have always maintained that it doesn’t matter what your religion is, if you are a person of faith , you will have feelings never before experienced. I know this sounds trite but I do believe this. And, I suspect the only way you will know what I mean is if you visit Israel yourself.
If you have never been, I know a trip there, (no pun intended), can be a big leap of faith. With all we read in the paper and news reports we see on TV Israel can appear to be unsafe. I can only tell you for the 12 days I was there I had no safety or security issues whatsoever. I freely walked wherever I wanted including the Old City of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and even Bethlehem in the area administered by Palestinian Authority.
So you should go if you can. You should go to get the feeling. Believe me when I say Israel is really like no other place on earth.