Friday, March 30, 2012

Sights to See: Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel

Church of the Holy Sepulchre  This is Christianity’s most holy place--the believed site of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The church is built over the cave where it is believed Jesus was buried, now within an edicule (“little house”).  The Stone of Unction, where Jesus’ body was washed and prepared for burial, is near the entrance. 

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sights to See: Yad Vashem/Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

Yad Vashem/Holocaust Museum Har HaZikaron, 02-644340. Free. Established in 1953, this complex is dedicated to remembering crimes against the Jewish people. It is the most visited site in Israel--more than the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Masada, or Western Wall. By the use of light, the visitor center transitions people from everyday life. The main museum appears as a long triangle through bedrock. Its zig-zaging path leads up a slight incline, telling a chronological story. Testimonials filmed by Steven Spielberg punctuate walls filled with photographs, descriptions, and artifacts. It is not an easy museum either physically or emotionally. The dome of the Hall of Names is now home to the documented names of 4 million of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust. Also within the grounds is the Valley of the Communities, a massive monument dug out of natural bedrock and engraved with the names of more than 5,000 Jewish communities lost in the Holocaust, and The Cattle Car, a memorial to the millions of Jews herded into cattle-cars headed for extermination camps.

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, March 26, 2012

Good Eats: Tishreen, Nazareth, Israel

Tishreen 56 Spring St., 04-6084666. Owned by two Arab men, this serene spot serves Palestinian cuisine. A large stone oven left by previous Italian tenants is used to prepare oven-cooked Arab dishes. One of our guides’ favorites restaurants, he just gives the owners a budget and says, “Spoil me.” Delicious dishes we sampled include stuffed mushrooms, eggplant and cauliflower salads, a brilliant lemony-mint tabbuli that was wonderfully heavy on the parsley, and a spectacular hummus. From the oven, we enjoyed flat kofta meat patties, the house’s signature coffee chicken (recipe here), and Arab pizza (chicken and caramelized onions on flat bread).

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Good Eats: Focaccia Bar, Jerusalem, Israel

Focaccia Bar 4 Rabbi Akiva St., 02-625-6428. Daily 9am-2am. In this bustling restaurant built from the ever-present Jerusalem stone, most diners sit in a large open patio area that in winter is enclosed and warmed up with heat lamps. A parade of delicious Mediterranean dishes includes a killer flat bread with a trio of spreads—olive, red pepper, pesto—and a yummy beef salad. The best dishes are among the array of appetizers, but ravioli, soy-saucy chicken livers, and desserts are also quite good.

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Good Eats: Arcadia, Jerusalem, Israel

Arcadia 10 Agrippas St., +972 2 624 9138. Dinner daily. Located down a tight pedestrian lane and behind attractive blue iron gates, this restaurant is entered through a courtyard. The building interior features arches and vintage rough-hewn Jerusalem stone walls that are evocative of a castle cellar. Though it is a sophisticated upscale venue, the night I visited tables were decorated simply with freshly-pulled beets and lavender sprigs. Chef Ezra Kedem founded his restaurant in 1995 and uses locally-sourced ingredients in his menu creations. All veggies are organic and grown in the restaurant’s private garden. Entrees the night I visited included lightly herbed, long-braised lamb with root vegetables—perfect with a delicious Israeli Zinfandel—and also a tasty filet of gray grouper grilled with hyssop butter, cured lemons, and capers, but I especially enjoyed the lentil soup with hot focaccia and eggplant spread.

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sights to See: Monster Park, Jerusalem, Israel

Monster Park/"Mifletzet” Park Rabinovich Garden, Kiryat HaYovel neighborhood.  Decorating a children’s playground, this unusual concrete slide was made in the 1970s by sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle.  It is said that the tongues of the Monster of Jerusalem protect the children.  

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sights to See: Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

Israel Museum 11 Derekh Ruppin St., S of the Knesset, 972/2-670-8811. M-Sat. $8. Reopened in 2010 after a multi-million dollar restoration, this is the largest cultural institution in Israel. It is the Israeli answer to the Metropolitan in NYC and is home to one of the world's most extraordinary collections of Old Masters, Israeli art, Judaica, and archaeology. Most of the rich collection is willed to the museum by Jewish art collectors. Exhibits include an outdoor scale model of Jerusalem as it was in the time of Jesus, just before its destruction by the Romans. Looking like a smashed ice cream cone from the outside, The Shrine of the Book holds one of the most important discoveries of modern times--the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found by a shepard who lost his goat. The scrolls are mostly in Hebrew and so can be understood today. An original segment of the scrolls is on exhibit, but the rest are photocopies. A tunnel leads into the round room holding the display, which resembles the inside of a clay vessel. Reconstructed synagogues brought from Germany, Italy, and India are displayed in the Jewish Art and Life wing, and and a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden is also part of the complex.

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Monday, March 5, 2012

Sights to See: Garden Tomb, Jerusalem, Israel

Garden Tomb On Conrad Schick St., a narrow lane 400 meters up Nablus Road, 1 blk from the Damascus Gate, 972-2-627-2745; . M-Sat 8:30-12 & 2-5:30. Free. A guided tour here explains why many Protestants believe this is the authentic site of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Among the reasons are that it looks right and matches the Bible’s description. Pointing up the heavens, Director Richard Meryon says, “Here we worship the who, not the where.” Everyone gets about 12 seconds in the tomb, but that is adequate. Skull Hill, which has an indentation resembling a skull, is thought to be the site of the crucifixion and resurrection. It is a beautiful and quiet spot. A huge water reservoir has been found on the site, and you can view an ancient wine press that once was filled with straw before grapes were stomped. A Protestant site since 1894, it has been run by a British charity since 1969.

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Friday, March 2, 2012

Sights to See: Jerusalem Park/9/11 Monument, Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem Park/9/11 Monument On the outskirts of town, NW of Jerusalem just off Hwy. 1. Jerusalem is the only other place in the world with a memorial for 9/11. The sculpture here resembles a burning flag, and a piece of the beam from the World Trade Center rests inside the monument’s base. All of the names of the people who died are engraved in stones around the perimeter (this is the first place after NYC to display the names). My guide, Ron Sinai, is part of the Israel Rescue Team that travels to disaster sites around the world. After the 9/11 attack, it took 15 minutes to organize their 65-person unit, and they were at the airport within an hour to go to NYC—only to be stopped by a call from President Bush saying it was an American issue and needed to be taken care of by Americans. New in 2009, the monument is in a forested area where people can also bike and hike. It is paid for by the Jewish National Fund.

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers