Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reflections on My Trip to Israel - Day 6 of 10

Day 6, Sunday, was our free day. We were not taken to visit sites anywhere and were told we could spend the day in any way we chose. I planned on reading, relaxing and catching up on my journalling and emails to home.

Our guide, Doron, had encouraged us to visit Ben Yehuda Street and do some shopping. He also told us how to get there by bus or taxi. He said some of the most expensive and beautiful merchandise in Jerusalem can be found on Ben Yehuda Street.

However, Errol and I did not go to Ben Yehuda Street, but later, when I heard from three women about beautiful fabrics they bought there, I wished I had made the effort to go shopping on Ben Yehuda Street. Carla, Sherry and Karen talked about the store owner knowing a lot about fabrics and accessories and they asked him how he knew so much about fabrics. He told them it was because his wife used to sew a lot and this is how he learned about it. She is no longer in the land of the living but left him a legacy of knowledge about the merchandise he sells.

I have an addiction for beautiful fabrics, and though I have a ton of fabrics at home in every design, colour and texture, a couple pieces more, especially from Israel, would not have hurt my inventory. Oh, how I wish I had gone to shop at Ben Yehuda Street!

Anyway, Ben Yehuda Street is on my list for my next visit to Israel, which I hope will be soon.

Errol and I were not the only ones who did not go to Ben Yehuda Street. We met with others and chatted with them about our past week and shared about what our pilgrimage to the Holy Land meant to us. As for me, it was the living reality of a long-time dream about 20 years in the making. I have always been attracted to the culture and language of Israel and it felt good to be in the land related to the Patriarchs and Prophets of old and where Jesus walked, taught and did His many healings and miracles.

We talked also about the Jerusalem Syndrome, which Pastor Peter Youngren told us about quite early in our pilgrimage, and had laughingly warned us not to catch the “disease.” The Jerusalem Syndrome is some sort of psychotic disorder, which many pilgrims experience on their visit to Israel. They imagine weird ideas about themselves relating to biblical characters and historical places, maybe it is because of being in the environment where so much biblical history took place. This does a spin in the human psyche of most individuals, weaving a fantasy in their minds causing them to think in an inadvertent way. For example, we heard of one man on Mount Carmel who thought he was Elijah re-visiting the area. This is just one small incident.

Jerusalem is a charismatic place, and I use the term “charismatic” in a loving way. As a pilgrim, being in that city takes a hold on you. It grows on you. Maybe it is because of one’s biblical knowledge and it gives the reality of being close to places God performed His mighty works, especially in Old Covenant times.

The pursuit of tracking events in ancient Jerusalem is a magnificent obsession and many pilgrims, including myself, can never seem to get enough of it. However, I did not catch the Jerusalem Syndrome but caught a cold because of not being dressed warmly enough early one morning.

Remember in my first post there is a photo of a man with a camel and he is carrying a stick? He was soliciting patrons to take a picture either standing next to the camel or sitting on it for a fee of $20.00. The thing is, in order to climb on the camel it had to kneel. The poor animal’s knees were sore from kneeling on asphalt and stone and I could not see how anyone would be a party in putting the animal through that distress. For this reason, even though it meant “bread and butter” for his owner’s table, I did not take a picture with the camel.

More about our pilgrimage next week...

1 comment:

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