The Sacred and the Secular

28 04 2008

Sorry for my lack of posting the past several days, we have been so busy finishing up the dig and this past weekend was a busy, whirlwind trip to Jerusalem. We missed the bus across the Allenby/King Hussein bridge and so had to get a taxi to the Beth-shean crossing. This delay added time to our trip and subtracted money from our pockets. I went with Jody and Carrie as their

tour guide, it was their first time in Israel. When we finally arrived in Jerusalem, I took them through the Old City to JUC (where I got my MA). It was at that point I realized we might have a problem getting a hotel, because it was the end of Pesach and Orthodox Easter. We eventually found a nice place called the Paulus Haus. That night we went to the Western Wall for the Pesach service and then went out to Egon, my favorite hookah bar, with my friend Josh Walton who is studying at Hebrew

University. This contrast has always been one of my favorite things about Jerusalem, the sacred and the secular within a few minutes walk.

On Saturday I took the girls all over Jerusalem, from the Via Dolarosa, to the Mount of Olives, to the Pool of Siloam in the Kidron Valley, to the City of David, to the Wes

tern Wall, back to JUC, and then to Damascus Gate for lunch. We relaxed in the late afternoon in the garden of the Albright Institute and then met my friends (Cyndi, Jen, Joanna and her husband Razi) for dinner. I also got to spend some time with my Palestinian friend Jabber, which was really great (he just had a baby girl, Sarah). We went to a couple of bars and were heading back

to our guest house around 2 when we passed a long line of Russian Orthodox priests heading to the Holy Sepulcher. Again the sacred and secular came in contact and we stood transfixed by the candlelight and chanting until the procession had passed.

fun times at the hookah bar

Sunday we spent the morning shopping and also touring the Holy Sepulcher. We got to see the Greek Orthodox processing to the church. Last in line was the Patriarch of the whole Greek Orthodox church or the Pope of the Greeks as Shaban (a local shopkeeper and friend who runs the Old City) said. We arrived back in Madaba around 9PM exhausted and yet completely pleased with our trip.

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