From Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale

People disappear when they die. Their voices, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living mempry of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continut to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humour, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.

--Diane Setterfield

Monday, November 15, 2010


On Sunday (Halloween*) we went to the Western Wall. Jim is into collecting old maps and from there he got pulled into archeological digs and is therefor well informed about the correct location of places and history** (Because we joined his tour we are all basically experts on Herodian Stonework and lamps). We visited the Antonia Fortress and the Pool of Bethesda, which has been diverted for agriculture and is now just some stones in the ground, well below street level***. Right next to the pool is the Chapel of St. Anne. She is the traditional mother**** of Mary and the chapel is the traditional site where Anne gave birth to Mary. The chapel has significance to us because of it's great acoustics. We heard a solo from Matt and a duet from Brett and (his dad). We sang some hymns all together and then after the group left, and I was not in danger of stage fright, Mom and I sang "How Great Thou Art". Three times*****. Then we booked it over to The Church of the Condemnation and walked the Via Dolorosa. We ate lunch in th Christian quarter+ of the city. We ate Falafel and Shawarma and then did some shopping. We walked out through the Jewish quarter and it was interesting to watch as the souvenir changed from a Christian influence to a Jewish influence. After we ran the gauntlet of souvenirs we saw the area below the Temple Mount and walked along the street that Christ walked and stepped into the shops that sold items for worship (sacrificial animals etc) to patrons. The blocks of the Temple Wall that have been excavated are so huge. We lined up, arms extended, along one block and it took six people to reach the end. !!! Then we went to the South Steps++ of the Temple and took a group photo there. Then the group split up and I went back into the Old City with Mom. We were going to get Byzantine style oil lamps as gifts for people but we lost Jim, who was our guide to the shop. So we wandered around until the group met back up at the Damascus Gate. After that we went back to the BYU Jerusalem center for a concert by the Israeli Opera. Before the concert we got to hang out and admire some mosaics by local artists. Tarah+++ took a break from studying for finals to come and meet everyone. The opera was actually just three soloists, a narrator and pianist. They did a good job and although I had favorite performers and favorite vocalists (who were not necessarily the same person) I thought the entire show was great. The auditorium looks out over the Kidron valley, right at the Dome of the Rock and the whole of Jerusalem. It's a great backdrop.
The next day we visited the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount^^. !!! We looked out through the archer windows and saw the countryside, we climbed on pillar capstones^^^ and posed for fun pictures. We noticed that there is a 'Dome of the Spirits' where the Holy of Holies originally was located and directly east of it is the Golden Gate. Then we walked through a small olive grove and watched girls harvest olives. The Dome of the Rock has beautiful Muslim mosaics all around the outside and a gold leaf dome. There are also green lines radiating out from the mosque where people are lined up to pray when the thousands and thousands of devout come for pilgrimage. We walked out of the Old City through the Lion's Gate and went to Orson Hyde Park^^^^. We looked out from the Mount of Olives where Jesus said "Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem"

** DANG IT!** this is the second time that I've written everything out and Blogger has failed to save it. I'm posting what I have. Sorry it breaks off in the middle of the day.

* Erin was the only one who dressed up for the holiday. She wore orange socks.

**In the years since the 6 Day War, the Jew have been rediscovering Jerusalem via archeologists. They have uncovered the temple many places mentioned in the Bible and are continuing to excavate.

***One of the cool things about Jerusalem is that there is history literally in layers around you. The Jews have been excavating because each time Jerusalem was conquered, the victors would demolish the buildings^ and build on the rubble. Now we can see this is when the Ottoman Turks were here, this is when the Crusaders were in power etc. The closer to bedrock the excavations, the older the time period.

^Everything is made out of limestone. Everything.

****She is never mentioned in the Bible. But it's fun to learn facts that other denominations know offhand.

*****Hehe. We sang it once and then once more b/c another group came in (to show off a little bit) and a third time, by request, so Dyanne could video record us.

+ So the city is divided into three quarters (Jewish, Muslim and Christian) anyone else see the problem with that? Three. Quarters.

++ There were minions there setting up sound stuff for a performance. It was kinda fun, but we had to watch our step or trip over the cords and wires.

+++ She would have come to the concert with us but student's get last of the last tickets and she had her two hardest finals the next day. She opted to go back to her dorm and study.

^^Because that area is a mosque and under the Islamic jurisdiction our dress code was more strict. I was okay as long as I had my scarf covering my arms. Other members of the group were 'asked' to cover up. Mostly it was the girls who were being immodest. Their long sleeve shirts didn't come all the way up to the collarbone. Tsk.

^^^ These capstones were just hanging around on the roof of Solomon's Stables which if I remember correctly is now the women's section of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The capstones are from the time of Christ. !!!

^^^^ Orson Hyde is evidently a big deal in Israel. His Dedicatory Prayer of the country is taught is schools to all the children.

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