JERUSALEM – Volleyball’s Rebecca Rice is currently overseas in Israel visiting with her grandmother and aunt. She will pen several features chronicaling her activities and sightseeing while in Israel. Here are days three and four of her journey.
Day three started off with a tour of Magdala which is where they know the woman in the Bible named Mary Magdalene was from. Excavators recently discovered a synagogue there and it was dated back to the first century. The second place we visited was the Mt. of Beatitudes where scholars believe that is the location Jesus gave his “Sermon on the Mount” sermon. The next place we saw was Capernaum. This is where Peter the apostle lived and Jesus lived with him during the time of his ministry. Finally we were able to stop and have lunch at a restaurant that was right on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. Then we rode on a huge boat with many other tour groups on the Sea of Galilee. That was an incredible experience. We finished the long day with a stop at Mt. Carmel (Muchraka) which is an important place for Jews and Christians. It also has an underground Israeli air force base that houses fighter jets. On the way back to the hotel we drove by Nazareth but we were not allowed to stop in the city.
Day four began early with the Temple Mount, it is located in the Old City of Jerusalem and is an important holy site for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The second place we stopped to see was the Israel Museum, which had a 2nd Temple Model and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea scrolls were found in Qumran and that is one of the places that we got to visit on the second day. After that, we went to Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. This was a fascinating and sobering experience. An interesting fact is that all of the trees that are planted at that Museum are dedicated to a person or family who perished in the Holocaust. The memorial that I was most amazed by was the one that was dedicated to the ~1.5 million children that died. They had three lights in a room that was reflected by tons of mirrors that gave a haunting image of millions of stars. While you are in that room you can hear the names of all the children, their age and hometown as you walk around. After lunch in a local mall, we went to an outskirts area of Bethlehem (we are not allowed to enter the city). The last thing we did on the way back to the hotel we were able to drive by the U.S. embassy but could not go inside.