Rick was at work a lot of the week that we were in Israel.  Blake and I did not keep up the picture-taking tradition.  Many of these pictures were taken the first weekend we were in Israel when our friend Dan Dolberger took us to the north of Israel to see Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the old town or Rosh Pinah and a city in the far north called Safed (pronounced Tsu -fot) famous for study of the Kabala and other new age activities.  We saw places where Jesus preached; where John the Baptist baptized; we ate homemade Arabic sweets (featuring a lot of honey and pistachio) and Turkish coffee (very strong, dark and thick!)


During the week, Blake and I visited Old Jerusalem - the Church of the Holy Sepulcher; the Church of the Domission, where Mary is allegedly buried, several of the Stations of the Cross and the Jewish Wailing Wall, a remnant of the original Jewish Temple, a very sacred spot for traditional Jews in the contested part of Jerusalem.  Visiting the Wailing or Western Wall entails strict security checks and obeying strict gender-separation.  The day we were there,  young boys and their male relatives were on the men's side of the wall, celebrating the boys' bar mitzvahs while the mothers, sisters, aunts stood on chairs on the other side of a fence in order to watch their own son's bar mitzvahs.  It seemed an unnecessary remnant of the past.  It is traditional for people to place notes with prayer requests into crevices in the wall.  When you visit the wall, you can see, at close range, the Mosque that is third most important in the Muslim religion, the Al Aqsa Mosque and also, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Mt. Olive.