Day 2: Getting acquainted with Jerusalem

Jerusalem Travel Blog

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A window we passed as we walked through the city.

Today begins with back-to-back lectures in our hotel conference room.  The first is a presentation by a photographer named Frederic Brenner, a man who has traveled to 40 different countries over the past 25 years capturing images of the Jewish Diaspora.  We watch a slideshow of his work and listen to him speak.  Next we hear from David Horovitz, the Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post.  He talks about the current state of affairs in Israel.  He says that people generally feel safer today than a few years ago, but the threat of Iran is worry to everyone. 

In the afternoon we take a walking tour of Jerusalem and visit a few neighborhoods.  The places we visit our diverse.

Just one of the many stray cats we saw.
  As we enter one extremely Orthodox neighborhood, a woman standing by the gate tells us in Hebrew, "Please leave our community."  And a boy taking out the garbage shields his face from us as he passes.  As we walk around, we stop periodically in small courtyards to hear local music and folk songs being played for our benefit.  We also have an opportunity to visit a synagogue and hear about its traditions. 

I notice that there are LOTS of stray cats in Israel.  They seem to be everywhere.  Another member of our group (there are 98 of us altogether) tells me that Jerusalem had a big mouse problem a few years ago so they brought in the cats.  The mice are under control, but now the city is dealing with an overpopulation of cats. 

Our last stop on the walking tour is a visit to the home of Rabbi Arye, a famous Israeli spiritual leader.

A local singer performs for us.
  As our guide tells us about the Rabbi's house, a neighbor walks out and begins to tell us about Arye and his famous visitors (Menacham Begin amongst many).  Then the man says Shalom and we continue back to the bus. 

Dinner is at our hotel.  I've noticed that a lot of the food is pretty salty so I'm careful with what I get.  I make a dinner out of rice, vegetables, pita and hummus, a meal which will be my staple for the next two weeks.  Dessert is watermelon.  Watermelon is very big here and is served at all three meals.  It's been a while since I've had good watermelon so I take advantage and enjoy it. 

After dinner, we attend a two-hour lecture on water usage in the Middle East.  Informative, yes, but it's been a long day and we're all still jet-lagged.  When it's over, we go back to our rooms and get a little bit of sleep before we start again in the morning.

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A window we passed as we walked th…
A window we passed as we walked t…
Just one of the many stray cats we…
Just one of the many stray cats w…
A local singer performs for us.
A local singer performs for us.
Another stray cat.
Another stray cat.
photo by: daynnightraveller