March 2010


This past Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday in Jerusalem. Due to a long week of adventures, Joanna and I returned home after church for some much needed rest. Brandon, Mom and Dad trekked with hundreds of other Christians along the path of Jesus’ triumphal entry. They walked for 3 hours, up and down many hills, and returned home quite tired. Here are some pictures from the day.

My parents flew in last Thursday. It was a rough landing…

On a more serious note, we’ve been having a great time.  We spent a few days this weekend at the Sea of Galilee. We started at Caesarea on the Mediterranean, spent a day driving around the Sea of Galilee, saw many ancient ruins, took a boat ride on the sea, stayed at a wonderful guest house and had lots of fun together.

Here’s Grandpa and Joanna playing in the Sea of Galilee.

Brandon taught us while Joanna played in the ruins.

We’ve also been exploring a bit more in Jerusalem. This morning we went to the Garden Tomb, a possible location of Jesus’ tomb.

Mostly Joanna’s been having fun with Grandpa & Grandma here.

So do you have it…the i’m-not-photogenic gene? We do. Big and bad! I’ve never liked getting my picture taken. In most pictures my eyes are half closed giving me the appearance of being high. Really. It’s true. Well, I know believe it is a gene that I’ve passed to Joanna. Earlier this week she had a 18 month “photo shoot” with a JUC student. The half hour was not pleasant to say the least. Determined to get at least one good shot, we powered forward.

Here’s proof that she inherited the i’m-not-photogenic gene.

But we did get one good picture.

And this is her attitude by the end. Sassy.

Lately Joanna loves books. We read to her each night before bed, but lately she’s been reading books to herself throughout the day. Her is “reading” is mostly a constant ‘mmmmm’ sound, but she’s trying. In anticipation of the really long flight in May, we’re working on sitting for longer periods of time (think 15 minutes). Last week I started pulling out a pile of books for her to read on the couch while I read my book next to her. We’ve been doing this just about every day and now she actually gets upset with me if I’m not reading my book. She can sit for up to 20 minutes this way! Today we sat outside since the weather was so nice.

Yesterday, Purim was celebrated in Jerusalem. The following information on Purim came in an email from JUC.

The feast of Purim celebrates God’s deliverance (through Mordechai and Esther) of His people from the evil plot of Haman to annihilate the Jews in the Persian Empire.  It is one of the most festive of Jewish holidays but begins the night before with the Fast of Esther which includes prayers for deliverance. 

Rabbinic tradition instructs people to get moderately drunk until they can no longer differentiate between “Blessed is Mordechai” and “Cursed is Haman!”  Men and women gather to hear the public reading of the biblical scroll of Esther in the synagogue, done with much revelry.  People, especially  children, come with noisemakers which they sound when Haman’s name is read.  Thus, more than 50 times the reading is interrupted with shouts, screams, boos, and the rattling of groggers.  

This festival is also a time to dress in all sorts of costumes and masks, not necessarily associated with the Esther story.

On Purim, one is commanded to be charitable to everyone, even beggars who may be bogus.  On a day of unbridled joy, no questions are asked.  Another commandment is to send gifts of food and drink to friends and those in need. 

Brandon went to a synagogue last night as a field study for one of his classes (Jewish Thought). He said it was like he was at a Halloween party in church. Each chapter of Esther was read by a different person both men and women, young and old. Jews read scripture as more of a chant or a song and the Rabbi stood at the front to cut off the noise making after an “appropriate” length of time. You can watch a short video on Brandon’s facebook page.