Saturday, August 27, 2011

Priests in the Temple of Solomon

After a certain age, when you either possess or can easily buy any normal household or personal object, new experiences are the best presents. What I mean by experience is a trip, a good meal in a restaurant, a visit to a museum, a theater play, sunset with a glass of wine, and so on, (you got the idea by now), in short, an activity you usually do with your loved ones. With the years passing by, material presents become smaller and more symbolic, or consumable (like a box of fine chocolate or a bottle of drink) making room for the experience-type presents.

With the occasion of our 31st anniversary, we got one of these great presents from our son, Dan. As you may already know, he is studying towards a tour guide certificate, an almost 2-year program, and is already offering monthly trips to the GLBT community. He loves history and archaeology and is one of those guides with Bible in one hand, pointing to the subject matter with his other hand, while reading the relevant passage from the Bible and enlivening the ancient text with [sometimes humorous] contemporary comments. He prepares extensively for each trip and always has a binder full of relevant illustrations, time lines, facts, diagrams and other self-made educational materials. I joined a few of his trips and enjoyed immensely. But of course, I'm biased.

Just before 10 o'clock in the morning, we purchased our tickets and were the first to enter the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, "the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel, [...] ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums". In the Archaeology Wing, we got a thorough stone age to Ottoman period retrospection, while browsing the exhibits found in the other locations of Dan's yearly trip program. We saw the Dead Sea scrolls in the Shrine of the Book and finally, after a well-deserved coffee break, the impressive Model of Jerusalem in the late Second Temple period, which completes the story that starts at the City of David, up to 66 AD.

"Yes, I am a Jew and when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon." (Benjamin Disraeli)