This morning we met for a discussion with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Executive Director of the ICB, of Bethlehem. (He was born right across the street from where Jesus was born, and his family has been in Bethlehem for a long time.)
We also toured Dar Al Kalima school and wellness center. It is a place for Palestinians in Bethlehem, Christians and Muslims, to go for physical and mental wellness. They've recently started a program for girls' sports, and have an excellent girls' soccer team.
After lunch, we saw the wall that separates the West Bank from Israel. We traveled through the checkpoint to Jerusalem, and visited the Shrine of the Book, the Jerusalem Model, and Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
The Shrine of the Book was built to hold the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and generally date between 150 BCE and 70 CE. Tomorrow we go to Qumran, where the scrolls were found.
The Model of Jerusalem is a 1:50 scale model of the city of Jerusalem as it appeared during Jesus' time. The first picture is of the Model.
Our final stop was Yad Vashem...Israel's official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and was established in 1953. The origin of the name is from Isaiah 56: “And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (Yad Vashem)...that shall not be cut off.” It was a moving, and very powerful memorial. Very sad... There is also a memorial to the children who died in the Holocaust. Inside the names of the children are read. There are five candles lit, but many mirrors make it look like many candles.
The second picture is of a young man in our group from St. Paul's UMC...with some of the young Israeli soldiers.
Tomorrow...the Dead Sea.
Love,Dawn and Chuck