It's been a while since I landed in your inbox, and that's because of my ongoing battle with tendinitis in my right forearm. Overworking my arm rearranging our wall of books in December brought that on. I'm good at pushing through pain to finish projects until the pain gets so bad it takes over.
Typing turned out to really aggravate it, so I had to curtail activities to what I had to do, namely produce and run my online course Book of My Things. Thankfully,
that was a positive fun endeavor. However, not resting my arm made the tendinitis worse until I thought I'd have to cancel the trip to Israel my husband and I had originally planned for March 2020, and that we were going to make good on this March.
Well, as you can see, we did not cancel. My PT has me wearing a wrist brace, which has helped a lot, and persuaded me that my arm would finally get proper rest as I wouldn't be typing and working on vacation. So far he's been right. My husband is doing all the schlepping, bless his heart. We've done some great touring, and I am
I have to keep this short as I am typing only with my left hand, which is slow and tedious, but I thought I'd at least say hi and share a bunch of pictures from Jerusalem.
Our first tour was to see the City of David National
Park, excavations that have brought to light the Jerusalem of King David. The site was long on my list of places to see, but it is in East Jerusalem. On prior stays, that was either too iffy to visit, or plain too hot weather-wise. This time we lucked out with pleasant spring weather and a great guide, Ed Snitkoff, who gave us an in-depth tour.
Before we even got to the City of David, however, we passed the Givati Parking Lot Excavation, an active archaeological dig, uncovering antiquities from 10th-6th century BCE
(I have to say it's really hard to curtail myself here and not put together a blog post on this right now but that would blow the top off my curtailed activity...)
Conveyer lift brings up bags of archaeological dirt to be sifted later
In this picture we're walking above what is presumed to be Kind David's palace at the cleaned-up site of the City of David National Park.
You're looking out of one of his rooms here at the neighborhood of Silwan across the valley. Honestly though, the palace is pretty small. By contemporary standards, it'd be a modest villa.
Tour highlight: climbing down the fortified tunnels (from Canaaite times) to the Chidron Spring in the valley,
Jerusalem's only water source in ancient times.
After seeing the spring and visiting other spots, we made our way back up to the national park entrance through
this drainage canal, where Jews hid during the Roman siege in the first century CE. It got pretty low and narrow in there!
On another day we finally managed to visit the Rockefeller Museum, also in East Jerusalem. I'd read about it in various historical accounts. It was the first regional archaeological museum, built in the 1930s and funded by John D. Rockefeller, to house all the finds in the area. The building was the site of a fierce battle
during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, and the courtyard, its most beautiful feature, as well as the façade, still bear the bullet holes from that fighting. I forgot to take a picture of them, though!
My favorite part of the courtyard: the niche outfitted entirely with Armenian tiles
Strewn about the courtyard are various stone finds, such as this marble statue foot.
The galleries were wonderfully old-fashioned but also disappointing because the signage was so sparse. Without a guide, you had little
idea what you were looking at. Docents were not to be found. Nevertheless, I'm glad we visited.
We made a long overdue visit to Yad Vashem, the renowned World Holocaust Center, where we hadn't been since 1986. The museum is so well done, and there's so much to see that's not material for a newsletter like this.
But I do want to leave you with a small memento: I appreciate that Yad Vashem makes it their mission to bring as many victims to life as possible. Since I love diaries, I was particularly touched by artifacts like the one above.
So much for my missive from Jerusalem!
Hope you've been well, drop me a line if you want.