The Third Day – Israel Museum (Jerusalem)

Today dawned freezing and overcast, but with no sign of the hoped-for white roads.

01 - Morning Dawns

After dressing in a total of seven layers…

02 - Layers

from left to right: dress, petticoat 1, petticoat 2, skivvy, leggings and soccer socks, leggings and ankle-socks, underwear; not here: coat, hat, scarf

… we boarded the bus to head to our first destination of the day.

Map - Menorah

The biggest menorah in the world.

03 - Menorah

It was a gift from the UK (yay!). From top to bottom down the middle is depicted the Exodus from Egypt, the Commandment Tablets, Ruth and Naomi, Ezekiel and the dry bones, the Warsaw Rebellion, the words “Shema Yisrael” (Hear, O Israel), and people rebuilding Israel.

From there, we walked about ten minutes to the Israel Museum.

Map - Model

04 - Israel Museum

There was a lot of walking and standing involved with today.

The first of it was around the Jerusalem Model.

04 - Jerusalem Model

It’s a model of what Jerusalem looked like in the 1st century. Here are some shots from around the model:

05 - Jebusite City

the lower city – this area was the original Jebusite city (Jebus, funnily enough) during the Canaanite era

05 - Jaffa Gate

the Joffa Gate – we’re staying not far from here

05 - Golgotha

Golgotha – remember I said it was originally a mine?

05 - Amphitheatre

the Roman policy: entertainment in every town

05 - Temple Mount

the Temple. This was during the Second Temple period

05 - Temple the Second

another view of the Temple

05 - Herod's Palace

Herod’s palace

05 - Pool of Siloam

the Pools of Siloam – just near where St. Anne’s Church is today

06 - Magpie Kong

Magpie Kong – the Model Jerusalemites fear for their lives

It was absolutely freezing as we looked around the model city, raining and later snowing (although nothing settled, and pictures didn’t take very well). In my opinion (and the opinion of several others), we spent a little too long standing around – Yuval was talking, but I was so cold and distracted that I didn’t hear any of it.

Eventually, we moved on to the next section of the Museum – the “Shrine of the Book”. That’s just a bit of an obscure, non-descriptive name for the area that houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. Once I worked that out, I got very excited!

Map - Scroll

We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the Dead Sea Scrolls Museum (as I’m now calling it, for clarity), so I don’t have any. We entered into a long hallway built to resemble a cave, along the sides of which were displayed various artefacts found around Qumran. This opened up into a big round area (shaped on the top like the lid of the jar the scrolls were found in), in which were displayed many of the scrolls.

Fragments of all the books of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) other than Nehemiah and Esther were found. In some places, they’re not exactly the same as the Masoretic Text (which dates to about 1400 years later), and bear more resemblance to, for example, the Samaritan Pentateuch, or what a translation of the Septuagint might be. Fragments of the Septuagint itself were found (Exodus and Leviticus), as well as some fragments of Aramaic translations (Leviticus and Job).

The Qumran community lived along the Dead Sea (we’re visiting Qumran on the weekend) and farmed. They practiced Community of Goods, and candidates handed over all their possessions to the community after a year of living with them.

Most of the scrolls were things like the community rule book and a prayer book and a hymn book, but some were of books of the Bible I recognised. A facsimile of Isaiah (the only complete scroll found) was displayed in the middle of the scroll room. The handwriting is a little different, and I found myself wishing I had taken my Hebrew Bible (it’s the Masoretic text, and here in the hotel room) along with me to compare them.

On the way out, I stopped in at the shop. It was a bit of an odd shop. There were lots of books – and I bought a very geeky one entitled “Origins of the Alphabets: Introduction to Archaeology”, which has at the back all the letters and their various origins and forms over the ages – and a surprising amount of kitchen implements.

07 - Yolk Pig

one might think the Yolk Pig could be a bit insensitive in a kosher establishment such as the Israel Museum

07 - Ravioli Rest

the Ravioli Spoon Rest is simultaneously weird and very cool

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4 thoughts on “The Third Day – Israel Museum (Jerusalem)

  1. Ruth Hay says:

    i suppose that some of the walking would have kept you warm.

  2. Jo Creek says:

    I’m wondering if Israel’s cold, wet & snowy weather is due to the cold front that hit the USA and is now affecting the UK?

  3. astraya says:

    Once, a reader in church stumbled on ‘Jebusites’ and called them ‘Jesuits’ instead.

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