Today was a “free day” so I joined a group of participants in the Ecce Homo Biblical Programme for an excursion to Jaffa and Tel Aviv. There were 14 of us, so we caught a “sherut“, a 14-seater van, which brought us to Jaffa. It is an ancient port, but very shallow, so when big ships came they had to anchor offshore and small boats ferried passengers and cargo to shore. It is still a functioning port today, but for fishing vessels and boats for tourist cruises only.
Near the top of the hill in Jaffa, in Abrasha Park, is the Statue of Faith.
The pillar on the left is the Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22 – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2022&version=CEB ) If you look closely, you can see a Z-like line through the middle of the pillar, which is the kneeling figure of Abraham, his head lying backwards, his mane of hair on the right hand side of the left pillar. He is holding his hands up, in offering. Resting on his arms and head is his child, lying on his back, his feet on his father’s hands and his head just above his father’s head. Abraham is kneeling on the back of a sheep which is the base of the pillar on the left.
The pillar on the right is the dream of Jacob, with angels ascending and descending. I admit I couldn’t make it out! But seeing the photo, I have just worked it out now. At the base of the pillar, Jacob is lying on his back, his knees drawn up to his buttocks. Above him are two angels, fitting together, one head down, his hands on Jacob’s knees, his head on Jacob’s head, the other angel head up. The first is obviously descending, the other ascending. Their wings are the features on either side, looking more like manes than feathers!
The lentel across the top is Joshua and the Israelites coming into Jericho, blowing the shofar (rams’ horns) which lead to the collapse of the walls of the city and their resounding victory.
Here’s a close up of the Abraham pillar:
Here’s a view through the pillars of the statue, looking out over the beach and the city of Tel Aviv (pity about the rubbish bin in the foreground!
A clear view of the same scene:
I wandered through the narrow alleys of the Old City of Jaffa. The buildings have all been turned into museums, art shops, jewellery shops, tourist items, very boutique, and very expensive!
An odd item was an orange tree, growing in an earthenware pot, suspended above the ground. I overheard a tourist guide marvelling that despite the fact that the tree has no contact with the ground, it still flourishes and produces fruit.
I visited a Greek Church and marvelled at how different the interior layout is from a Roman Catholic Church. For more information see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_church_architecture , especially the terms narthex, nave, iconostasis and sanctuary. Here is a photo of the iconostasis, which completely shields the sanctuary from view. Only the priest enters the sanctuary, where the Eucharist is offered in this holy of holies, out of sight of the congregation, who remain in the nave.
Having explored Jaffa, we walked along the foreshore to Tel Aviv, found a spot on the beach, and had a swim in the Mediterranean. The water was warm, clear, refreshing and relaxing.
Then we walked a block inland to the Hacarmael Market in Tel Aviv, or simply, the Carmel Market. It is a hive of activity, with a range of goods on sale.
Not having eaten since breakfast, seeing it was nearly 3.00 in the afternoon, walking past all the food stalls and savouring the aromas was unbearable torture, so we found a restaurant and had a meal. I had Persian Kebab with humous and pita bread. Delicious!
Then we walked to the bus station and caught a “sherut” for the one-hour journey back to Jerusalem. Back at Ecce Homo, I had the evening meal, did my washing, and after hanging it out to dry (when the sun comes up in the morning, it will be dry in an hour!) and then took this photo of the nearby Dome of the Rock, its golden dome lit up in the night.
Back to work tomorrow!
Shalom, Peace, Salaam!!!