June 1, 2010

Day Nine, a Good Time.

Today in Jerusalem we went to the Garden Tomb (the tomb where Jesus was laid after being crucified). The tomb was dug out of a huge piece of rock/cliff, and far on the other side of the cliff was where Skull hill was (place of Jesus' crucifixion). And the tour guide at that venue gave honestly the most outstanding evidence being that this was the very site of the crucifixion. I was actually persuaded. First of all, Jesus wasn’t crucified on some high hill out in the distance, like the hymns say. I mean, what good would that have done? The Romans had the crosses set up right outside the city, by the Northern gate, on one of the busiest roads into Jerusalem. Why? It was an excellent opportunity for the Romans to boast of their power and to let the Jews know that they weren’t scared to do anything to anyone, including their very own King of the Jews. This only makes perfect sense to me. The Romans would’ve wanted for EVERYONE to see this disgusting act of suffering as a sign of their superiority and dominance. So this is exactly where we were, right outside Jerusalem, on a busy road, and by the Northern gate. This was so interesting to me.

There’s even evidence of the tomb actually being Jesus’ tomb, because there’s a crack in the rock that only an earthquake could have created. And the Bible said, that there was an earthquake either at the time of Jesus’ death, or at the time he rose from the tomb…I can’t seem to get my facts straight about that right now.. So anyway, we all had an opportunity to enter the tomb and look inside.
We then all sat in this beautiful and gorgeous garden and had some praise & worship, meaning that Charmaine and I had to stand in front of the group and sing. Haha. We even had communion with these tiny miniature wooden goblet things, which by the way, we got to keep! I really love this garden though, for once it’s not commercialized or touristy at all. It’s so peaceful. Also, they don’t charge any entrance fee, everything is earned simply by donation. I was talking with my buddy Jim, and he said “man, if the Catholic church got a hold of this place, they’d set up pillars at all four corners and bling the whole place up with statues and shrines.” SO true.

[Skull Hill- apparently you can see a skull in the side of this cliff...]

[The Garden Tomb]

[Floorplan of the Tomb]

We then took the bus to Elah Valley, which is where the famous battle of David and Goliath took place! It was honestly over 40 degrees that day, so when we got off the bus and walked through these fields searching for flat stones, it was like a furnace. I found a flat stone! But I think I threw it away soon after…Haha, how sentimental am I?
[Jerusalem landscape, can you see the Dome of The Rock?]

[Amazing landscape]
[This was a photo Bob and Gloria put me up to. When I declined their request they called me "Chicken", so there was only one thing to do...]

[Looking for stones]

[Bob's flat rock. Haha]

For lunch, we drove to a restaurant called Aroma Coffee, which is like the Starbucks of Israel. (Israel tried the whole Starbucks thing, but it went outta business a little too quickly) Since the size of my stomach has definitely expanded over these past few weeks here in Israel, I ended up eating a HUGE sandwich, 2 Ice-Aromas (like an iced cappuccino) and then Jim bought me a surprise ice cream from McDonalds. Man, I did not feel so great after…
[They give you chocolates with your order!]

So my friends Bob and Gloria and I made a pact that everyday from now on, we’re gonna take a totally awesome and original photo of us. So photo number one was a complete success; we talked to the manager of Aroma Coffee, and they let me stand behind the till to pretend I was serving a customer (Bob). It was hilarious! I am also pleased to say that I have completed both of my Israel trip goals (get pictures with Military men, and eat at an Israeli McDonalds! Such deep goals…)

Then we went to the Holocaust Museum. We only had an hour there. Did you hear me?? ONE HOUR. It is physically impossible for someone in their right mind to spend only one hour in such a place. To be honest, I could’ve been given 8 hours and that probably wouldn’t have been enough. So…inside of this museum, I lost complete track of time. COMPLETELY. I was only halfway through the museum when I finally looked around me and didn’t see anyone I recognized. I started to panic…and then practically ran through the rest of the rest of the rooms of the museum and finally made it to the exit, where everyone on the bus was waiting for me.  Geez. I was half an hour late. As I stepped onto the bus I got a round of applause (we have this tradition where we like to embarrass the late comers) But it turned out that there was still one person ten minutes behind me, PHEW. So I’m very sad to say that I missed the whole last half of the museum. What an incredible and eye-opening experience. I never cry in public, and there I was…shedding tear after tear. I watched every single testimony video, gazed at every photo, and read every single little excerpt and story (until I realized I was late for the bus). It was so hard seeing old and worn out little shoes there on display, combs, and actual diary entries. The videos were definitely the most heart-wrenching, where survivors would share their stories of being buried alive under millions of dead bodies, or watching their own mothers being killed, right in front of me. It was my first holocaust museum experience, and hopefully not my last. I’m pretty sure that when I’m in Germany we’ll be touring the Auschwis concentration camp. And I’m hoping to tour the museum at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. This is a history that we should never forget to remember. The more we forget, the easier it will be for history to repeat itself.
Since I ate WAY too much at lunch that day, and I looked six months pregnant, I restricted myself at supper and didn’t have any second helpings OR dessert. Wow! Char and I spent the evening watching “The Challenge” (oh how we love Marykate and Ashley) and just talking about our good ol’ college days.
[This is our hotel]

[Charmaine and I in our hotel room]

[The Western Wall at night]

[Walking through a tunnel underneath the Western Wall. It had glass floors and was seriously claustrophobic] 

[Israel nightlife]


  1. Very Cool indeed!!! My old King James Bible that I had when I was little had pictures of actual Christian monuments - like the tomb of Jesus and the garden of gesthemene - so I totally recognize your pictures!
    I am reading Ted Dekker's Tea with Hezbollah - you should totally read it. Right now I'm at the part where he talks about his experience in Jerusalem - and all I can think was "Jenni was there!!!!!" :)
    It looks like you were living the high life in all of those fancy pancy hotels you were staying in! You should come out and visit us and I'll take you to the Holocaust Museum in DC! You and Mom and Dad should come out in August!!!! Dooooo it!!!!! <3

  2. Auschwitz is in Poland and i think elena already cleared up the Holocaust museaum in DC... in Germany you will be going to Dachau. a concentration camp that is literately right outside of Munich and situated INSIDE a town. how the citizens of that town claimed "they didn't know what was actually going on" is a mystery to me... i guess its easier to turn a blind eye to the evils of this world than to actually do something about it. but if you ever get the chance to go to Poland and to see Auschwitz i highly highly recommend it. that concentration camp is so huge. and the tour is really well done. you actually feel sick when you see some of the things that happened.