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August 4, 2009August 4, 2009  0 comments  Travel: Shiloh - Biblical heartland


Shiloh - just as you read it... In the Biblical heartland

Shiloh is so full of history - the kind I have poured hours over - reading and mail-exchange with David Rubin, today former mayor of Shiloh and author of, God, Israel and Shiloh. So much so, I sensed a need to be there and experience the walk up to the place where the Ark of the Covenant once rested for 369 years; stand in the synagogue where childless Hannah gave birth to her son Samuel who became the great Prophet of Israel; just be there where hero Joshua divided the land among the ten tribes; even a meeting ground for future love stories...

And this came to be when I made my visit to Israel last October. The world calls the place, West Bank. I still prefer it the way it was, Biblical Samaria. It is an hour's drive from Jerusalem. The winding roads we drove through from Jerusalem, I later learned was the famed Route 60 (today, 'slightly re-routed and re-paved', according to David) - the Road of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and also one that many would avoid today as it continues to be in the news for shooting attacks, including causalities. As we passed a road between 2 looming mountains that led through Bethel, our guide Yaron's voice boomed in the quiet of the bus, 'This is called the Eye of the Thieves'.

I remember the pulsing of nerves and the blood rush into my head and breathed heavily shooting a prayer-whisper. My adventure had begun. I gauged the possibility of the area we were in. Could this be the road on which David and his three-year-old son were both seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting on the road home? Flashes of images in David's book ran like a film-scroll, but I sat still thanking the Eternal One for allowing me to experience what my heart cherished in this travel to Israel. It was a dream come true and nothing would stop it. It was when I shared my experience with an internet friend Mary (who I chanced to meet in Jerusalem while visiting the Dominus Flevit church, located down the slopes of the Mt. of Olives); I realized what an exciting trip this was among the others. "We too visited West bank in an armored vehicle...." And ours was an ordinary 50-seater tourist bus!

Honestly, my heart skipped a beat, returning to the reality of the interiors of the tourist bus. I wanted to shut Yaron up from saying anything further. What set this emotional reaction in me was that I had accepted to co-ordinate this trip with 55 people, who had no idea of this place. This was an optional trip that I was to make personally. I shared this with a friend who wanted to join me and the rest of the group joining in was a result of the way the news spread. And so, it was that all of us were on the way.

Since this was a Jewish community and within the area and there are threats from terrorism in the area, it was recommended that we had a Jewish driver with us. Our appointed time was a Sunday morning. The itinerary arranged by David intrigued me more and reinforced my decision to 'Have to be in' Shiloh. It included the Samuel's Heights; visit to the 'Tent of Shiloh' to meet the people and children there; Tel Shiloh for an audio-video presentation; the site where the tabernacle stood for 369 years passing by the Byzantine Church remains, the mosaic floors, Eli's cave, synagogue of Hannah's prayer.

Shiloh is best described in location as in the Biblical heartland. Best described by one who lives there, David Rubin, as, 'It is a town that possesses amazing natural beauty and spiritual significance. It is the cradle of Jewish civilization and nationhood, the source of Jewish prayer and worship and the epitome of Israel's faith.' It is aptly referred in the Bible as "the resting" place. Accurately, as the Scriptures place it, Shiloh is located north of Bethel, on the east highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem.. (Ref: Book of Judges 21:19). I wondered how Bible hero Joshua would have addressed to the people at the time. Recently, research has established that Shiloh was located in a place that would possess extraordinary acoustical properties. This configuration of the landscape would have facilitated communication by the priests when the people came to sacrifice.

David Rubin met us at the gate at Tel Shiloh. After introductions and a brief history on Shiloh, we moved on to the school to meet the children. It was an enthusiastic 2nd Grade, I'd say. They sang a blessing in Hebrew for all of us. Emotions moved in waves within each of us, some wiping eyes and a few moving into the children's petting zoo and play area, just to be with them. Pictures and greeting exchanged we moved on with David to the site of the Ark. The walk was a long blunt climb, but every step was like prodding on history. Flashbacks of what might have been thoughts and feelings of those living here then and now meandered. My mind's eye worked, I could see a lone man on a mountain-top blowing the Shofar, the young maidens dancing, shepherds' herding sheep....

The audio-visual was a good introduction before setting out to begin the tour. This was followed by a stop-over at a room where the model of the Tabernacle was displayed for explanation. Stories literally came to life. To think we actually walked on the spot that Joshua spoke to the leaders of the tribes, where Hannah prayed for her son Samuel and the prophet's selfless walk. We passed by the archeological exactions of the Byzantine Church and came to the High Priest Eli's apartment.

We passed by caves (which I later learnt as I re-read David's book), are burial caves that archeologists have discovered, as well as a cave near the Tabernacle site, which most likely was the dwelling place, perhaps for the High Priests of the Tabernacle. Excavations for newer discoveries are underway.

Seeing nature in its awesome splendor, my eyes followed the winding Route 60. I turned and thought to myself, ".. the road probably drives into Shechem. Someday?" Some decided to rest here, while the few of us continued our discovery-mission to where God's presence dwelt. I heard the 82-year old lady remark, "This is once in a lifetime...." As we got closer, my heart thumped in excitement. The feeling was so perfect - tranquil with a light breeze blowing - I could even feel those private personal moments in the few of us there.. As for my personal moment, I put all that I had read in the Bible, before coming and hearing David sharing and bringing to life - Samuel the Prophet playing around as a young boy, people living their daily lives, young beautiful maidens dancing in the vineyards as the young Benjamin watched eagerly for their perfect matches, the men carrying the Ark, building the site, etc.,

I was living amidst the Scriptures in surrounding history!

Bible history has it that it was in Shiloh that the first permanent Tabernacle was placed since the exodus from Egypt. Its presence made Shiloh the centre, to which the Children of Israel would come 4 times a year to worship God, during festivals. The dimensions of the tabernacle, as laid out in the Bible are justified in the rectangular space at the site.

A delicious Israeli lunch of falafel with drinks was provided to us. We spent time Bible-speaking fellowship with David and Nomi who Chef-ed our meal. The visit to the Souvenir store was on the way to the bus. On my way back to the bus after the visit, I was leaving back something and would I ever return? I have already made up my mind..

This was my kind of travel - to not the much publicized places, but the remote ones that were still 'gems'. My vision by this time was set to Road 60 from Beersheva to Shechem. I must confess, it did raise eyebrows. Yet experience has it, hat I have always done what I have decided! So I wait...

 


Nazareth Village - Step into the life Jesus knew! : Return to the Past

Many people travel to Israel with an expectation to experience the Scriptures come alive - to feel the real sense of being in the Bible land. For many, it is a lifetime dream, while for some, a personal pilgrimage. There is always something new and interesting to share, especially the luxury of living in the past. True, Israel is a modern country with all the contemporary amenities, yet deep within each, one sees glimpses of the Biblical era in the terrain, desert areas and vegetation during the drive from place to place and so there is rarely any disappointment. Bible stories come alive, simply at the mention of places.
The name Nazareth stirs evocative pictures in the mind and the illustrated Bible stories come alive imaginatively - Shepherds tending flocks, a donkey with some fresh bread on its back, activity in a village with its residents going about their daily chores, stone dwellings, children on the street, young women at the village well having tête-à-tête and guards at the watch tower keeping watch.
Nazareth is one of the 'must-see' places in every visit-Israel itinerary. It is a bustling city with a population of approximately 70,000 people. For nearly 2,000 years hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have found their way to the setting that moulded the Man who changed the course of history. This is where the birth of Jesus was announced to his mother, Mary, where he grew up and spent most of his boyhood. It is in Galilee, where you still see those landscapes, the backdrop of Jesus' parables and words of encouragement come alive. Where the Bible comes alive.
Nazareth Village is a project that attempts to reconstruct life in the first century and is located on the last remaining tract of virgin farmland, just 500 meters away from where Jesus grew up - almost right in the centre of town. It brings to life the Galilean village scenes, recreating Nazareth as it was 2,000 years ago - a Jewish village under Roman occupation. The project has been in operation for a few years now and is a non profit organization, supported by people from around the world. It is a result of 15 years of archaeological, architectural and academic research led by the University of the Holy Land.
Once inside the main entrance the tour begins. A guide leads you through the ancient doors of Nazareth, stepping back in time through four rooms with a detailed introduction to life as it was 2,000 years ago. You will learn of the trade, how the land was made ready for the crops and the produce was transported to the market place and most significantly, what it was like for the Jewish people to live under the Roman rule, including an explanation of the crucifixion. There are some poignant and interesting tidbits of what Jesus' boyhood life was like in the tiny village Nazareth once was.
Step through ancient doorways into another time and place. Whatever the season you visit the Nazareth Village, there is some significant element of the annual cycle of life as is represented in the Scriptures. In spring there wafts the smell of ripening grain. In winter you will experience the plowing of wheat in full swing. In summer, when we visited, figs were heavy on the trees and there were some olives, too.
As we walked into the village, we were met by a farmer going about his business with a donkey carrying a load on its back and a shepherd tending the sheep. These are people clad in biblical costumes and perform other activities relative of the ancient times.
One notices that most of the residents in this tiny village made their living from the soil. Interestingly, the Hebrew name of Nazareth is derived from an agricultural root. It comes form the word, 'netzer' meaning 'shoot' (mentioned in the book of the Prophet Isaiah chapter 11 verse 1), referring to an offshoot of an olive tree. The tour simply sprung to life as we learned of how olives were picked and crushed to produce oil at the ancient Olive Press. Olive oil was used to light the lamps in people's homes, cooking, soothing their skin and also, so importantly, in anointing the kings of the Old Testament. One of the most exciting archaeological discoveries at Nazareth Village was a wine press hewn out of the bedrock that our Guide stood upon as she narrated the tour. Such small presses were common features in the Hellenistic and Early Roman Period. But the location of this wine press - only 500 meters from the original village of Nazareth - makes it very significant
There was an opportunity to understand the role of women in the ancient household. The Jewish texts are full of references. In a reconstructed home, we watched as the lady weaver plied her art. Work begins with wool, after the shearing of the sheep. Then comes the cleaning, dyeing and finally the spinning. It was easy to imagine Mary, mother of Jesus, at this task. You can try your hand at it - trust me it isn't as easy as it looks! Baking traditional flat bread over an open fire and drawing of water form the well are two other traditional occupations of women in those times.
Visiting Joseph's carpentry shop was an experience. Joseph demonstrates his skill in a manner that would help one imagine the trade in those days. One of the most moving sites is the synagogue. You will most naturally, be told of the story of Jesus in the Nazareth synagogue where "he stood to read" from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah. Sitting on the steps of the synagogue gives one an experience akin to what Jesus and his contemporaries may have had whilst gathering in a council hall at the time where important decisions were made. A ritual immersion bath located near the synagogue is under construction
Nazareth Village offers visitors a true to life ‘tent' experience too. There is biblical lentil stew, fruit and vegetables grown from the hillsides and warm flat pita bread baked right in front of you.

Guided tours are available in English, Hebrew, Arabic and other languages (on request). Advance reservations are recommended. As mentioned earlier, each season brings new things to see at the Nazareth Village. There are four different programs to choose from: Meal Tour, Standard Tour, Pilgrim Tour and Lost Coin tour. The village is open from 8:30am-5:00pm; 8:30am-3:00 pm on Saturdays; closed on Sundays. There is an Entrance fee. You can avail of the local reliable Egged bus service from Tel Aviv, Haifa, Tiberius or Afula. The Village can also be reached by car. For exact directions it is best to call the Nazareth Village. They can also be contacted through their site: www.nazarethvillage.com.

This visit to the Nazareth Village is a worthwhile experience where scripture history has come alive to enrich, beyond words!


August 6, 2009August 6, 2009  1 comments  Health: Harp healing

                                                          Harp healing...
About 3,000 years ago there lived a young shepherd boy called David in Bethlehem, who would be summoned quickly, many times in the middle of the night to the chambers of ailing King Saul to play his harp. The king would be afflicted with nightmares, anger fits and all general malaise that was disturbing to his mind and affected his physical health, too. When the harp was played, he felt better and ‘would become refreshed and well and the distressing spirit would depart form him.' These words may seem potent with a similarity known to many of our days. And it is a reality worth reckoning.

People in those days may not have had the scientific knowledge of today, but they were aware of something ever so profound that did happen to people when the harp was played. So they found the best harpist is the land to bring before their ailing king to ease his suffering and bring in the moments of peace and well being.

3,000 years later, today, medical research, studies and testing are proving the healing effects of the harp. And the results are very impressive. Is it a new tool for hospitals? Oh Yes! The unwieldy harp has become a routine fixture during heart operations; others have used harpists in intensive care units to help normalize sick newborns' heart rates, after surgery to reduce patients' anxiety, and during childbirth to soothe mothers in labor.

A story reported by msnbc.com in 2005, on ‘Harp has the power to soothe but it can also heal' mentions of Zook suffering from atrial fibrillation. Her symptoms included unnerving palpitations and troubling fatigue that make her suddenly collapse without warning. Her doctor, Abraham Kocheril, chief of cardiac electrophysiology at the Carle Heart Centre in Urbana found signs that harp music would help sick hearts like Zook's to beat normally. According to Kocheril, resonant vibrations form live harp music may be particularly effective at regulating quivering heart rhythms. "Potentially, there could be a prescription for music 5 days a week... to keep the heart healthy in general and specifically to keep rhythm disorders under control," he said.

National Institutes of Health are financing larger studies on the effects of harp music healing. It has been noted that those in musical sessions have also begun producing white blood cells two days faster than those in a comparison group. There are many cases reported today where the sounds of the harp not only has the power to soothe, but also promotes healing. One would gauge this music as being therapeutic. A study conducted by the International Harp Therapy Program indicated that after listening to the therapeutic harp music, 91% of 200 patients, experienced relief of anxiety and 72% reported a reduction of pain. So what is so unique about this harp as a therapeutic instrument, one may inquire? It is proven that this charming harp is a distinctive instrument for therapy in that the full pitch range of the harp can vibrate the entire body. The rich tonal vibrations of the harp pulsate and can reach the cellular level, helping to restore physical, spiritual and emotional harmony.

Micah and Shoshanna Harrari of Harrari Harps have been producing Bible harps in Israel since 1984. These are believed to be the first and only kind to have been made based on ancient origins of the Biblical harps, in over 2,000 years. For this reason, they take the responsibility to make the best instrument using the finest musical woods. Shoshanna Harrari learned to play the harp by following her heart, first picking out simple songs, and then beginning to play her own music. She began to teach others by this method, encouraging budding harpists to find their own style and play music that comes from the deepest part of themselves. It is said that life has its own music. Therefore, the emphasis was not on perfect technique, rather on awakening of the sensitive strings of the heart and soul.

Tracing the history of the Biblical harps and its therapy, Shoshanna Harrari explains:

1. How many kinds of harps are there?
- The main harps played in the times of the Temple were the Kinnor (Lyre) and the Nevel (harp). The numbers of strings varied according to the Talmudic information, but there were never more than 22. Many times in the Psalms it says ' Upon a harp of 10 strings I will praise Thee, O' Lord". There is also mention of the 8 stringed harp (which we are now beginning to build), and we know that 22 was the most strings that the harps had (also connecting to the 22 letters of the Hebrew Aleph Bet).

2. How is the harp played?
- The harp is played mainly by plucking, though it can also be strummed. It is very versatile, it can be played with one hand or two hands, in the form of melodies or chords or rhythms. The sound is so beautiful that whatever a person does to play it will always sound beautiful.

3. Harps played in orchestras - the ones placed on the floor look like they have more strings. How different are those from the Biblical harps made from the House of Harrari?
- The Concert or Orchestra harp that is seen prominently in orchestras is only about 150 years old at its oldest. The harps we build are from designs more that 3,000 years old. We take our information from archeology, the Bible and the Talmud.

The archeological evidence for the Nevel is found in a cave in Megiddo where there is a drawing on a cave of a primitive Nevel and a man standing next to it. Archeologists date the drawing which they call 'The Meggido harpist) to be about 3,000 years old. And the archeological evidence for the Kinnor David is found on a coin called the Bar Kochba coin minted after the destruction of the Second Temple, 2,000 years ago.

The Biblical harps had at their highest number 22 strings. Though they are large and have more strings, in a very real sense they are more limited in that the great length of the string forces the player to use great force to pluck them to release the required sound.

This elevates harp technique to the highest priority. We have many concert harpists who buy our harps for the sole purpose of finally having a harp they can use for musical expression and personal creativity, because the concert harp is too confining and technical for them to play the simpler music of their heart and soul.

4. How different are the harps made by Harrari harps in Israel from the others made in Wales, etc?

- There are harps made in other countries, reflecting their own music and culture. The harps of Scotland and Ireland, interestingly, according to their own legend (the legend of Tea Tephi) that their harp originally came from a woman who was a princess in Israel, the daughter of the last king, who, escaping from the exile to Babylon, sailed on a boat and ended up in Ireland with her small harp.

The people of Ireland fell in love with her and her harp, adopted the harp as their own and married her to an important king named Herman. She spent her life teaching in 'the halls of Tara' (the halls of Torah), and for thousands of years the people of Ireland had a great love for the Jewish People and the Harp.

The harp however began to change as it use and purpose changed. In Israel, the harp was used for prayer and thanksgiving; in Ireland it was used by the wandering minstrels to entertain the lords and ladies of the castles.

In the time of the rivalry between Queen Elizabeth I and her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, the harp became a symbol of the great love of the people for Mary (she played the harp while Elizabeth played upon the pianoforte!) When Elizabeth became the winner of the day (by killing her competition), her jealousy knew no bounds, and among many other things she did was to orchestrate a huge harp burning in the British Isles. For about 100 years, there is no music or record of a harp there. It returned later in the courts of the kings of Europe, were it grew to a more formidable size, the size of the Scottish and Welsh harp, which are about 800 - 900 years old.

The difference between the harp of Wales and Scotland and the harp of Israel is mainly size and purpose. The Scottish harp is great for playing as entertainment in restaurants and weddings, at gallery openings and other things of this venue. The harp of Israel still remains the harp of prayer, of 'regular, unprofessional' people, who have a heart to play the music of their soul, for prayer, meditation and other more spiritual pursuits.

It is a joyful instrument to play, mainly because it sounds beautiful no matter how it is played, giving the player a true freedom of expression and creativity rarely found in other instruments. This is strong point, plus its easy portability to pick up and carry anywhere whenever the person feels like going out to the forest, beach, their back yard or a friend's home. It is just small enough to be considered hand luggage on airplanes, and light enough for anyone to carry with them.

5. Would you comment on the healing properties of the Harp, much spoken of these days?
- An ancient aspect of these harps is their healing nature. Long ago, when David was called in to play for the ailing King Saul, it says 'he played with his hand, and Saul began to feel better and the evil spirit of depression left Saul'. Very powerful words for a small sweet sounding instrument!

In our time we have the scientific instrumentation to measure just how the sound vibrations of the harp really do affect us. In many recent articles and film documentaries, it is being show that the sound of the harp raises our sympathetic vibration to where it is supposed to be, allowing our overworked immune systems to regain their strength and vitality to be able to resist disease and debility.

6. Have Harrari harps been purchased in hospitals?
- From what I hear from our customers, some of them are taking these easily and unobtrusive harps into hospitals, hospices, birthing rooms and other venues like this to play for the sick, the dying and the just being born. To ease one's pain and suffering, and passage from one world to the next in the most gentle and loving ways. The people themselves in the hospitals, etc. are so grateful and thankful, and they comment on how the sound of the harp helps them in their different situations.

I have even heard that a few were taken into operating rooms by nurses, where it was recorded that the people who received the operations recovered faster with more vitality than others where no harp was played. I think we will be seeing much more inclusion with the harp and healing in the future.

The popularity of the instrument is growing, as more people want an instrument that is easy to play, yet sounds like the sound of heaven and are connected with healing.

7. Have there been requests from buyers to teach them to play the harp?

A few years ago, a professional harpist from Japan, a man of about 32 who had been playing the concert harp since he was 12 came to choose his own personal Biblical harp from our shop. After he had chosen the one he wanted, he said to me, 'I will be here for a few more days and I would like to come here for a lesson before I leave.

For many days I pondered what I was going to teach him! This is a man who has been playing professionally for many years. He knew all there was to know about technique, music theory, scales and songs. What was I to teach him???

When he came on the appointed day for his lesson, I said to him ' With all the knowledge you have, the technique, the music theory, etc., what I can teach you? "And he turned to me with a look of pleading in his eyes, and he said 'teach me to be free!'

Then I understood, that the smaller, Biblical harp was always meant to be played by 'regular' people. Not requiring the emphasis on technique of the concert harp, the Biblical harp of David, of the Temple and the prophets, was meant to encourage people to play from their harp, to use their own unique divine creativity to play their 'new song', the songs of their soul to the contentment of their hearts. A special gift indeed.

A visit to the House of Harrari is rewarding - www.harrariharps.com and just holding th biblical nevel or kinnor and listening to the music form those strings is a spiritual blessing.


August 31, 2009August 31, 2009  0 comments  Travel: The Independence Hall

 

The finale - The Independence Hall

‘Birth of Israel' was my heart's requisite as I prepared for Sukkoth 08. This was my first feast visit. I had a plan to put in place that had to synch with ‘the plan' of my heart, for the time.  How was I to know of the arrangements and the fulfillment of the preparation I was led into? Determined to follow the ‘call', I set to a surfing-search and reached the International Christian Zionist Centre. I identified well with the Director, Jan Willem Van der Hoeven and had witnessed his teaching on the prophetic messages on Israel, the Promised Land, during the 2006 IRI summit.

The itinerary for the Feast at ICZC did say that the Valley of Hinnom would be a venue. On reading this, the familiar ‘Valley of the dead dry bones' (Ezekiel 37) flashed instantly within and impulsively, the decision was made! Yet, this was just half-way into the plan. I carried on with the quest, digging into tour plans and historical sites of Israel, till the Independence Hall of the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, singled out. With that included and my restless heart at rest, my Sukkot '08 walk-the-talk plan was now ready.

The whole program with its extended tour was enriched with meaning - archeology came alive (Isaiah 29:4); scriptures spoke, sang and danced; spiritual senses leapt in emotions; exchange of warmth in brotherly hugs had a meaning; meeting with the soldiers as we walked and a few holocaust victims and their families during the Feast program; sharing love with Jerusalem from around the world was pure and genuine; ‘The Covenant' musical visit was fulfilling..... but the constant reminder of the ‘Birth of Israel', with the Independence Hall lingered.

End of the 14-day stay found friends, Rachel, Willem, Shalin and me in Tel Aviv, ready to return home. By now, packed with the teachings and sharings during Sukkot and before we split to 4 corners of the world, wishing each other, ‘Le Shannah haba B'Yirushalayim!', we made our way to the final visit destination - The Independence Hall and it was already mid-morning, with Shabbath opening looming overhead. Packed in Rachel's car, with the downloaded map in hand, detours, wrong stops, asking for directions, last minute unfinished conversations and the clock ticking.. we finally got to 16 Rothschild Boulevard.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art was finally a reality!!!!! We raced in to be met by a kind gentleman who gave us each a Visitor's Guide and ushered us to the Audio Room. Each in our own little space as we experienced the walk around, reading the life size sepia-colored pictures of Israel's return to their Promised Land. The interior walls of the museum bear the quotes of Isaiah 35:1, Amos 9:14 and Jeremiah 31:8. For a fleeting moment, I ran my hand on one of the walls and wondered, ‘What, if these walls could talk...?"

According to the Visitor's Guide, on April 11, 1909, sixty families had gathered in this place. The purpose being to perform a lottery for land plots for a new Jewish neighborhood, known as Ahuzat Bayit, to be established outside the walls of Jaffa. At this event, Meir and Tsina Dizengoff acquired plot number 43, where they built their home. Meir Dizengoff served as the head of the new neighborhood council, and eventually became the first mayor of the city of Tel Aviv. After Meir's wife passed away in 1930, he donated his home to his beloved city of Tel Aviv and requested that it be turned into a museum. In 1936, after a renovation, it became the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. In May 1948, David ben Gurion, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel in the museum hall. The hall was restored and in 1978, the Independence Hall was inaugurated and opened to the public.

After this quick read, we were led to an Audio room... time still ticking.. Seated in our own places, between the historical exhibits, letting the feeling of the time sink in, we viewed a 15-minute film recounting the events of the period and history of the building.  It was a special moment, even though I couldn't understand much of the language, it gave me a jumpstart every time I would recognize a word with the very limited Hebrew, I knew.

From here on, we were escorted to the Hall - felt like the final endorsement to a dream come true. This was the historic hall, in which David ben Gurion made that final declaration and fulfilled the prophecy for the world to witness! Bible was alive. The room is of wooden décor with a huge dais that has the famous Judge hammer  and names of those who attended the 1948 ceremony; and chairs. Theodore Herzl's portrait is hung above the centre stage with flanked by 2 Israeli flags along either side. Most of the pictures displayed, at the time, part of the Tel Aviv Museum's collection from the day the state was declared, remain on the walls. In the corner in the room are various items connected with the ceremony: documents, invitations, recording and broadcasting equipment, memos and more

I read the name plates, amidst the heart thuds and paused for a bit at Ben Gurion's name and the hammer on the table. The original recording of the ceremony - the Independence speech was played in the silence of the room and this followed the ‘Ha Tikvah', for which we stood in reverence. It felt like I was singing the anthem with those gathered in the room in 1948.  I couldn't stop it but tears flowed ... These emotions were personal and safeguarded. My visit was now complete. On my way out, our escort, who was closely watching me said, ‘I have something to give you....' A remembrance worth a lifetime - The New York Times copy of May 14th 1948.

I imagined the hora the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and other prophets would have danced and repeatedly said, "I told you so....", if they were alive today. God of Israel never lies!!!!!' I choked with joy... for the reality was a prophecy fulfilled in our time, ‘Who ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Is a country born in one day? Is a nation brought forth all at once? For as soon as Tziyon went to labor, she brought forth her children.' Isaiah 66:8. And this impression was so personal.

This visit taught me a lasting and satisfying lesson - be ready when you visit Israel, there is so much that she will share with you. Let her do so, in her way...Make this one of your stops... it is a must to complete the tour.

 

 


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Description

Irene
Posts: 9
Comments: 3
I have visited and traveled the Holy Land, no better description, for pilgrimage, a tour and even for a Bible feast and have yet not had enough. It is so true when people say, 'The Bible comes alive' - every stone talks here!
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