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Israel has long been high on my list of must visit destinations and I am thrilled to have checked it on my bucket list. Equal parts surprising, spiritual, emotional, political, and artistic. Depending on who tells you the history Jews, Muslims, Christians, Palestinians, Syrians, etc. this magical place can be cast in a positive or negative light.
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Jerusalem
This was taken at the Church of the Visitation It captured a remarkable moment of contemplation from a monk who oversaw the church. I wish this image had a sound track because there was a group of Korean tourists having mass and singing spirituals...
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Jordan River
The River Jordan is where Jesus baptized John the Baptist and is considered a very blessed and spiritual place. There were about 50 people in line to be baptized (the sales of white 'baptismal' pullovers is a cottage industry), but you could walk...
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Mount of Olives Road 53, ירושלים
In and around Jerusalem graffiti was fairly non-exisitent, which I can only imagine was a commitment to keeping this holy city pristine and clean. So to see this declaration painted on a pillar just outside of the Church at the Mount of Olives was...
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רמת הגולן
The Golan Heights is a very unusual place. The Golan Valley just near the Syrian border was 'annexed' by Israel in 1967 as a strategic base and serves as a border of sorts between Syria and the more populated areas of Israel. I went into actual...
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Jerusalem, Israel
The Church of the Visitation honors the visit paid by Mary, Jesus' mother, to Elizabeth, John the Baptist's mother (Luke 1:39-56). This is the site where tradition states that Mary recited her song of praise, the Magnificat, one of the most...
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Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is amazing! it's true that the salt and mineral content in the water is so dense that you can't sink. The water is also caustic to clothes and footwear, so wash, rinse, repeat as soon as you leave the water. Nothing dries easily as...
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רב אלוף דוד אלעזר 10, חיפה, 35081, Israel
Almost every meal in every location I visited in Israel over 10 days and 6 cities offered a range of salads, meats, hummus, and breads. While this broad (and good) selection felt like a standard hotel buffet while eating in the hotels, the same...
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Masad, 14990, Israel
The fortress of Masada is on the top of a plateau near the Dead Sea. The construction is amazing, especially considering how long ago it was made. It put me in mind of the Pyramids of Egypt. You can actually walk up the mountain (over 900 steps)...
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Jerusalem
The Western (or Wailing) Wall is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple's courtyard, and is arguably the most sacred site...
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Yefe Nof St 61, Haifa, Israel
What surprised me most is that yet another faith finds the land of Israel sacred in addition to Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim. And, like Central Park, all of this beauty and serenity is smack in the middle of a bustling city. These gardens,...