Scott had told me I wouldn’t be treated as a guest but rather as someone sort of co-renting their apartment. If they were home and eating, I could join them. Otherwise, I was welcome to cook and eat whatever was available. If nothing was available, I could buy it for myself.
As I said, they don’t eat breakfast or even have breakfast food. Theresa gets up and takes the bus about 7:30AM and Scott drives to work only a little later. They may or may not come home in the evening depending upon whom they are helping do something. (ie. They came in about 1AM this morning after spending the evening helping a friend move). This is very different from being with the Perry’s or the Newbolds, but I’d better get used to it. I am pretty much left alone in the country. I ask a lot of practical questions (“How do I get from here to there?” “How does the clothes washer work?”), but I have to figure things out and decide day by day what I’m supposed to be doing with my time. Actually, I see this as a real opportunity because each morning I get to ask, “Father, what are we doing today?” (This is a fulfillment of Philippians 2:5-7. Thanks, Daniel Perry for the practical insight into this passage).
After Scott left for work I scrounged up something to eat, read my Bible and listened to the news. Both Danny and Yitzchak called from Ma’ale Levona to see when we would be arriving. I told them that Scott had said around 6PM (Sabbath begins–and ends–when you can see 3 stars at once, which tonight is around 7:30). Also had a return call from Benjamin Rabinowitz, an old friend from my time as a pastor in Atlanta, who moved to Israel several years ago. Ben was the first Orthodox Jew I became friends with and we spent time in one another’s church/synagogue. He is a High Priest (Cohen), directly descended from Moses’ brother, Aaron. Ben asked when we could get together and then his voice grew sad when he told me that his wife, Sonya, had died. This saddened me, too, since everyone loved Sonya. We will see one another next week.
The street I live on is only a few blocks long. It winds up the hill and ends at one of Israel’s most important parks. It takes about 5 minutes to walk to the park which is situated on a hill and is called the “Promenade”. The reason this park is so famous is the place it holds in Jewish history: The book of Genesis says that Abraham lived a long time in Beersheba (extreme southern part of the Land). Here Isaac and Ishmael grew up and, eventually, so did Abraham’s grandsons, Jacob and Esau. When God told Abraham to go up to Mount Moriah and sacrifice Isaac, Abraham went north and eventually arrived at a prominent outlook from which he could see the “Mountain” (Moriah) off in the distance. The park at the end of my street is that overlook from which Abraham first saw Mt. Moriah (later to become the city of Jerusalem). Seth has given me some advice for getting pictures on this blog, so as soon as I can I will have a picture showing this view. What you can see today is the Temple Mount area (built on “Mount” Moriah). The Temple (and now the Dome of the Rock) was built on the spot where Abraham began to sacrifice Isaac). (I put the word “Mount” in quotes because Jerusalem is actually build on a high hill, but it is surrounded by much higher hills all round it).
Walked from the park down to a little settlement which had a grocery store. Everyone was in a hurry and somewhat frantic as the pressure of getting everything ready for the coming Sabbath put some of them in a sour mood. I thought the whole city of Jerusalem was in the little store until I realized this was the settlement’s most important shopping day. I looked for cereal but everything was in Hebrew. Thank you, Lord, for pictures! The only non-translatable cereals were Fruity Pebbles and Post Great Grains with Raisins. I didn’t buy the Fruity Pebbles. Also bought some fresh fruit and bread (the Johnson’s can’t eat bread or fruit for the next 2 weeks). Never saw bacon. But I did see shelves and shelves of cookies and candy. Israelites love their cookies and candy.
Blake, I wore my Tilley hat for the first time during my walk. The weather was warm with a strong breeze blowing and the hat was even better than I expected. Also, I think my Chocos are now a permanent part of my feet. Great gifts and many thanks for your thoughtfulness!
My next posting should come on Sunday evening or Monday morning and I will tell about my Sabbath in the Orthodox community of Ma’ale Levona and about what I will be doing with Yossi in the weeks to come. Ma’ale Levona is about a 45 minute drive north of Jerusalem, in the “West Bank”. The community is perched on the very peak of a hill and is, itself, surrounded by a high fence with a gate and a guard on duty 24/7. It is the ultimate in “gated communities”. I may end up spending the entire weekend there, eating Sabbath meals with various families and going to Synagogue tomorrow morning to listen to an hour of Hebrew.
Must go. Just heard an Emam from one of the Mosques across the street calling everyone to prayers.
Until then, Shalom to all…