Martin Luther King said “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” I’m not sure about the first half of this quote coming from history-maker Martin Luther King, but I am good with the second half. And for me travel is one of the best ways to learn about what we are made of. Some places are especially good for understanding a little bit about world history, and feeling the past and how it has influenced our world today.
But first, did you know that if you don’t speak for three days, your voice sounds like you have laryngitis?
I am in Safed, a small Israeli city 3 hours north of Jerusalem. The picture in my mind of Safed was pretty different from reality so far. The picture above is where I am staying. As a center of Jewish mysticism with hippie-ish sensibilities, I expected a city that would feel loved and welcoming and in tune with the natural state of things. You know, like Berkeley before the iphone.
I decided to spend the day at the Israel Museum, which has a nice cross section of western art but is famous for the Dead Sea Scrolls and archaeological artifacts organized to unwind the 9,000 year history of the Levant. Steve Tobias reminded me of this word.
Jerusalem is pretty much closed down on Saturdays for Shabbat. So I hopped on a Palestinian bus headed for Bethlehem. From what I have learned recently, I don’t think this is what Jesus would have done.
I can’t believe I am in Jerusalem, the holiest city on earth! For the past couple of weeks, I have been reading a lot to orient myself but it would take years to understand the very complex history of Jerusalem. Just consider a very few of the things that happened (or allegedly happened, you decide) in Jerusalem’s Old City, which you can walk across in fifteen minutes:
- Jesus was tried, convicted, crucified and rose from the dead
- God created the universe
- Mohammed ascended to heaven
- Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac
- King David was buried
- Solomon placed the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple