Perez family tackle Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles

Colouring, drawing and sticker books at the ready!!! Ella’s Kitchen treats in hand luggage and just in case of a meltdown; a few cartoons on the iPad… yhup! We were ALL going to Israel. Two adults a 5 and 3 year old…

A few friends had said; be prepared for long queues at Ben Gurion Airport- Tel Aviv, a grilling may await you during security checks on your journey way back… So armed with a very informal itinerary and an intention to make the most of every conversation; we felt comfortable and undeterred. When the time came; there was no grilling or long queues, just very friendly staff interacting with our five and three year old bouncing bunnies; who turned into track and field athletes when they saw the silver queue barrier stands and ropes!

It seemed like all the prayers for the peace in Jerusalem certainly came back to grant us seven days of beautiful scenery

It seemed like all the prayers for the peace in Jerusalem certainly came back to grant us seven days of beautiful scenery, fellowship and a very secure experience in every environment that we visited or passed through. We didn’t go the glamorous route, we flew via a budget airline and stayed in a hostel. We didn’t use any organised trips we took ourselves to central bus station and away we went on our daily adventures.

One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the Valley of Elah. In the Bet Shemesh area. This wasn’t the easiest site to get to; as there isn’t a direct route, however; we got a bus as far as we could and just had faith it would work out. We found a lovely children’s play area and spoke to a guy and asked the way; he then phoned his Rabbi to check, and then took us in his car to the site… This is the place where schools as well as synagogues organise trips to take the Jewish children to learn about many of the battles that took place between Israel and the Philistines… one of them being the famous confrontation between David and Goliath. My 5 year old was particularly excited to climb (on my shoulders) up to the top and see where, a little lad; thousands of years ago had faced the invincible! Just by being true to his child-like thoughts and using what many may have regarded as a toy, overcame the greatest challenge of his generation. Now that is a “Toy Story” film I would like to see… This was and is my 5 year old’s greatest story from the bible which is why it was so important to go and see. Standing at the top we witnessed him picking up stones and throwing them over at things in his life that he felt resembled Goliath to him and hearing him pray the most heartfelt and genuine prayer, was worth the entire trip.

Another breath taking moment was getting on board on a smallish wooden boat in the Sea of Galilee, thinking of all the stories that took place on those waters, people some times use the expression; “if these walls could talk” but Imagine if the mountains surrounding those precarious waters could tell of all the defining moments, miracles and unimaginable manifestations that have shaped history and the lives of generations to this day and probably for rest of time. Transcendent seems like a limited and small word to describe the sense that one or at least the realisation I hosted when being there.

Now my wife Lisa and I have done a lot of travelling throughout our lives and you need to be wise and very sensible at all times, so we had thought of many of the possible cultural dynamics we may have found ourselves in, but something I think I didn’t expect – or at least underestimated – was the large number of nations that visit and are present in Jerusalem. We where in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles which is known for gathering a large number of visitors but considering I have grown up in a multicultural city (London) and Church, I felt it amazing to feel like every country in the planet was present, with both cameras and kippahs to celebrate the land and holidays.

We didn’t go with a huge to do list we were realistic in our expectation and needed to make sure each day was well balanced and child friendly. We found quite a few parks that were easily accessible, and made sure that our activities had a fun aspect and involved practical exploration and made it our own. I definitely look forwards to coming back, I feel that there is so much to see and explore and having really connected with the country’s infrastructure and local ways of doing things our time there can only get more and more rewarding. I’m glad although cautious that we did go as a family, we did create memories to last a life time and we also brought a whole new and real experience to our families understanding and passion for the bible.

Posted by Phil Bowell on .

Issue 4
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