Archive for January, 2013

Learning Hebrew For Travel


Before we visited Israel in conjunction with writing my book, On Our Own in Jerusalem’s Old City, we studied from Pemsleur Modern Hebrew. The lessons are by far the best conversational Hebrew lessons that I have ever heard. Modern Hebrew is main language spoken in Israel. In order to be better prepared for our trip, we spent some time reviewing the lessons.

Learning the conversational language is a great way to enjoy the culture and people of a country one visits. It is easier to find important locations such as a post office, restroom, or coffee shop. Makes for a more pleasant trip.

For those of you who enjoy learning all you can about Hebrew, this link includes information on the history of Hebrew.

For the information on Pemsleur Modern Hebrew, click here.  or here.

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Damascus Gate

The Damascus Gate

We took this photo outside the Damascus Gate on our trip to Israel. I love the architecture and masonry work. The craftmanship is worth the trip.


For a general history and overview of the Damascus Gate, click here. On this link you can see what the gate looked like in 1856 and compare it to my photo.
Called the Shechem Gate by the Jews, the Arabs remember this gate as the “Gate
of the Column” because of the tall pillar that stood in this gate’s plaza during
the Roman and Byzantine period. Click here to read more.

To view the Damascus Gate in a Virtual Tour. Click here. If you get dizzy easily, it might not be a good click.

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The Cardo

The Cardo was an ancient main street at the time of Jesus.



In 1999, we ate pizza in The Cardo Pizza shop with my Mom. It has become a special memory for me since Mom passed away a few years ago. When David and I went to Israel on a later trip, we had pizza at the same shop in Mom’s memory.

The Cardo in the past.

The central street of the Cardo is 40 feet (12 m) wide and is lined on both
sides with columns.  The total width of the street and shopping areas on either
side is 70 feet (22 m), the equivalent of a 4-lane highway today.  This street
was the main thoroughfare of Byzantine Jerusalem and served both residents and
pilgrims. Click here to read the rest of the article.

The Cardo in present times.

Today the Cardo is one of the key attractions in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. A section of Cardo has been reactivated as a shopping street, full of arts and various special goods.  In part of the preserved Cardo, the French school of art Creation de la Cite installed a large painting of the Byzantine Cardo – look for the depiction of a Byzantine girl handing a pomegranate to a 21st century boy. Click here to read more and to view a picture of the present Cardo.

The Cardo in 3D.

The Cardo as a virtual tour. Please note, this might make you dizzy.

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The Citadel


I enjoyed touring The Citadel. We spent an entire day there a few years ago. It is a fascinating place.


This amazing courtyard contains archaeological remains from almost every era from the second century BC to the twelfth century AD. Excavations indicate a fortress from the time of Herod. This is the most likely site of Christ’s trial and condemnation. On Our Own In Jerusalem’s Old City.

To learn more about The Citadel and the history of the Tower of David you can click here.

And here.

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Papal Visit to Israel


I would like to share some more pictures of our trip to Israel. Our visit coincided with a Papal tour. Security was tight. This picture is of soldiers who kept us from leaving our hotel, The Gloria, because of the Pope’s visit.





Anyone who attended the Pope’s reception had to pass by this window where David took pictures. The secret service’s dog sniffed David out.


To learn more about historical Papal visits to Israel, you can click on this link to read a nice article.

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The Dome of the Rock

In 1998, I toured the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1998 before it was closed down to any one other than Muslims.

I loved the architecture and rich history that is in Israel.


The mosque building was begun in the early 8th century and has been reconstructed many times. The lead-covered dome dates from the 11th century. The Temple Mount is the site of the first Jewish Temple, built by Solomon. To learn more, please click here.

You can also find out more of the history of the Dome of the Rock by clicking here.

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Good Day Readers,

On our trip to Israel, the Pope was also in attendance. Security was tight and we were stuck in our hotel for a while on the day that the Pope was to pass by our area. Our gracious hotel manager asked us if we would like to use a room that overlooked the street for a better view of the festivities. I accepted and managed to get a number of nice pictures of the scene. The streets were barricaded and only opened up for the Pope and his entourage.

This is a picture of the Pope’s motorcade as it passed beneath me.


It was a day to remember.


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