Day 9: A (somewhat) slower day

Jerusalem Travel Blog

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I love the crosswalk signs in Israel--even this guy has his head covered!

After getting to sleep in until 7:15am, we are up, showered, breakfasted and back on the bus for new adventures.  Our first stop is the Israel Supreme Court.  We get another guided tour, but the guide is difficult to hear and the handout brochure seems just as informative.  I do learn a few facts about this high court: It is comprised of 15 justices (5 of which are women and 1 is of Arab descent) and cases may be tried by 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 or 11 justices depending on the seriousness of the matter.  The chief justice is the most senior judge and all judges are elected by a special committee.  There are two dilemmas facing the Israel Supreme Court.  One is that the country has no constitution so there is a lot of disagreements about how to decide cases and what to base decisions on.

Sara and I at the backyard dessert reception.
  Second is that the issue of seperation between church and state isn't clear here.  Currently rabbinical courts handles cases involving religion (which includes marriage...which therefore includes divorces).  So if you want to get divorced you must go to a rabbinical court, but to solve issues of spousal abuse, child custody or property divisions, you must go to a civil court.  It gets a little muddy. 

Afterward, we go back to the hotel for a 2 hour lunch break.  Sara and I go back to the room and sleep soundly for 90 minutes (we're that tired) and then grab a quick lunch before getting back on the bus.  We go hear another lecture (this one at the Van Leer Institute) about the seperation of church and state in Israel--the main issue is how does Israel preserve it's status of being a Jewish state and a democracy at the same time when muslim populations in the country are increasing and Jewish populations are decreasing? 

Next we have the option of going back to the hotel for a few hours or having free time in the city.

Us again.
  Sara and I have had no time to explore Jerusalem on our own so we eagerly pick the latter option.  We go for a walk with a guy, Gregg, from our group down Ben Yehuda Street (the main shopping street in town) and window shop.  We see huges amounts of kippot (traditional head coverings) for sale including a Seattle Sonics one.  We buy more iced coffees and make our way down toward the Old City.  We stop at an artists' colony that we've passed in the bus several times, but find that it's closed.  We keep walking and find another cute shopping district.  It's getting close to dinner so we stop for more falafel (soooo dang good) and a bit of shopping before meeting our group again. 

We meet at the King David Hotel--the swankiest hotel in town.  In 1946, the British Mandate was headquartered here and the Zionists (led by future Israeli PM Menachem Begin) bombed it. Since then the hotel has been completely redone.  We only pause outside before walking to a nearby neighborhood for a dessert reception at a donor to the program's house.  The house is beautifully decorated with Middle Eastern decor on the inside.  Outside their is a large couch with tons of pillows under a canopy, a second level balcony, hot tub and waterfall.  The place is gorgeous.  We enjoy another warm Jerusalem night and mingle with our cohorts while enjoying wine and dessert (yummy apple cobbler). 

It was still a busy day, but not as busy as yesterday... Tomorrow is another story.

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I love the crosswalk signs in Isra…
I love the crosswalk signs in Isr…
Sara and I at the backyard dessert…
Sara and I at the backyard desser…
Us again.
Us again.
photo by: daynnightraveller