Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Friday, January 25, 2008

Yad Vashem: Northern Exposure: Crusaders, Pioneers and Soldiers

From our itinerary...."The trip will take us up from Jerusalem to the east and down into the Jordan Valley. We will take a route around Jericho and travel up the Jordan Valley rift to Bet Shean. Just north of Bet Shean, we will travel to the mountain called 'the Star of the Jordan' where we will visit the Crusader castle Belvoir. Built in the 12th century, we will explore the castle and see the beautiful view to the east, north, and south. The mountains of Moav, Edom the Gilad and the Golan to Mt. Hermon are all visible form this castle. From there we will visit Naharayim-and see a model of the original hydroelectric power station that was built there in the 1920's. We will experience the story of Kibbutz Gesher--the pioneers who struggled to settle and cultivate the land and their fight for survival during the War of Independence in 1948. We will have lunch at the Kibbutz Ein Gev and then continue to the Golan Heights. We will travel up Mt. Bental and see the border between Syria and Israel. We will wind up our tour by stopping at the Golan Heights Winery for an explanation about the operation of the winery and will conclude with a wine tasting! From here we will continue due west across the Jordan River to the western Galilee to the Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz where we will sleep for the night".

On Monday we had seminars at the Ghetto Fighters' Musuem and heard the story of the Kibbutz Lochamei Ha Ghetaot. The Ghetto Fighters' Museum, art museum and study center was built and developed by survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in April of 1943.

We left the Museum and headed north just a little bit to Rosh Hanikra. It is a 'love story' of the sea and rock. The grottoes there are the result of a geophysical process that has been going on for thousands of years. The cliff at Rosh Hanikra is made up of soft sea sediment - chalk interwoven with dark flint stones. To get down to the grottoes you take a cable car, the steepest in the world! And, yes it was. It descends from a height of 70 meters above sea level at and angle of 60 degrees. It was beautiful. Back up from the Grotto just about 20 meters is the Lebanese border.

Belvoir Castle

The moat

This is the hydroelectric plant which has ceased to be in operation. The fence in the front is the Jordanian border so what you see on the other side is under Jordanian control.

St. Peter's fish fresh from the Sea of Galilee. Hell no I didn't eat this it was my friend Anna's lunch. I'm still vegetarian. I have to say though, he does look happy.

Sea of Galilee

Oak barrels at the Golan Heights Winery

Stained glass window at the Ghetto Fighters Museum and Study Center

A child's shoes

Liberation Day. And although Jews and other prisoners were released from the camps as you can see it was no celebration. There was no place to go and no family to return to.

Coast line of Israel from Rosh Hanikra

Cable car ride down to the Grotto


Before going into the grotto

Israeli navy

Mediterrianean Sea

Israeli border crossing guard


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