Beit Yeshua dances on the
Old City Walls in Jerusalem
6I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem,
which shall never hold their peace day nor night:
ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,
7And give him no rest, till he establish, and till
he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of
Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you.
The last day of our trip was a "free day" and almost everybody
had plans for what they wanted to do.
When Curtis and Carolyn decided to make the trip to Israel in
2011, one of the things they new they wanted to do was to meet
with Curtis' friend, Liran, and his wife, Shiri, from Bat-Yam
(near Tel-Aviv). Curtis and Liran had been email friends
since 1996 - exchanging emails, postal mails, photos, gifts,
music - but never had the opportunity to meet previously.
Liran, Shiri & the boys (Tomer & Aviv) had surprised Curtis &
Carolyn by meeting them at the Ben Gurion Airport when they
arrived in Israel, but the initial meeting was brief because the
tour bus was waiting to transport everyone to their hotel in
Tiberias. Curtis and Liran had tried to arrange some time
to get together when the 2011 tour group was in Tel-Aviv, but
after the Tel-Aviv portion of the trip was cancelled, they
decided to meet in Jerusalem on the last day of the trip.
Liran & Shiri met
Curtis & Carolyn in the Prima Kings Hotel lobby at 10:00 am
Making plans for the
Duke & Myrl, Susan &
Paul (not pictured) stopped by to say "Hi"
Liran & Shiri wanted
to show Curtis & Carolyn
a part of Israel they had not seen and the decision was made to
the Soreq Stalactite Cave on the western slopes of the Judean
Liran & Shiri pose
for a photo after we arrive
Carolyn & Liran
Entrance to the
Soreq Stalactite Cave & Nature Reserve
Waiting to enter the
The Soreq Stalactite Cave Nature
On day in May 1968, the sound of
blasting echoed across the western slopes of the Judean
mountains. On the face of things, just another
blast at the Hartuv quarry that supplies stone for
construction, no different than the hundreds that
preceded it. But this blast was entirely
different: it revealed a small opening into a wondrous
world that had been hidden deep within the earth,
concealed from the eyes of all living creatures.
With the blast, the current chapter in the life of the
Stalactite Cave began.
The cave is located on the western
sloped of the Judean mountains on the southern face of
Mount Yaela. It is south of the Soreq Stream,
which gave the cave its other name, the Soreq Cave.
The cave was declared a nature reserve on March 16,
How is a stalactite cave created?
A stalactite cave is the result of the dissolution and
sedimentation of rock. But can rock dissolve?
It sounds amazing, but the stalactite cave is located in
the midst of layers of dolomite rock. Rainwater
that comes into contact with carbon dioxide created a
weak acid capable of dissolving dolomite. Most of
the carbon dioxide gets to the water through the soil in
which it is found in large concentrations. This
process takes thousands of years. The rock
dissolves along fissures through which water seeps.
Slowly but surely, the water expands the fissures and
creates caves. At this point the process reverses
itself: when a drop of water reaching the cave releases
the carbon dioxide with which it is saturated, the
limestone crystallizes, forming the stalactites, the
stalagmites, and the other sedimentary forms in the
The Stalactites and
Stalagmites in the cave were beautiful
The orange, green,
yellow and brown colors were amazing
Liran snaps a photo
of Carolyn, Curtis & Shiri
Liran, Shiri, Curtis
& Carolyn pose for a photo in the cave
The Soreq Stalactite Cave Nature
The visit to the cave is in itself an
extraordinary experience. But the surrounding
landscape and the flora on the way to the cave and back
are also noteworthy. The vegetation in the reserve
is made up of natural Mediterranean woodland species and
planted pines. On days when the visibility is
good, large areas of the Judean lowland can be seen, as
far away as Ashdod.
Beautiful scenery in
A final photo
together as a group
Back to the car
They stopped in Abu
Gosh and had lunch on the veranda of this Arab restaurant
... and a quick photo of Liran as they left the restaurant
We left Abu Gosh and drove back to Jerusalem.
When we arrived at the Prima Kings Hotel, we spent a little more
time visiting with each other before Liran and Shiri had to
leave. Eventually "Good-bye's" were said and hugs were
exchanged with promises to stay in touch when we all got back home.
Getting to finally meet Liran & Shiri was definitely one of the
high-lights of my trip.
Part of the group, including Doug & Lynda, Chuck & Janice, Duke
& Myrl, Gloria & Brittany, Paul & Susan, Jeff and Gid, decided
that a perfect way to spend this Shabbat morning would be to
walk to the Old City for a last look at things that were
The group walking through the Mamilla Mall going toward Jaffa
and enjoyed the art displayed there
The Apple & the Snake - and - The Ark of the Covenant - at the
The Ark carried on the shoulders of the priests - at the
Joseph in Egypt - at the Mamilla Mall
vendor sets up his cart with pomegranates, oranges and water
near the Old City Wall
Fresh bread ...
... another vendor with lots more bread
... and more bread on the inside of Jaffa Gate
... and more bread
... and even more
(on the right side of the photo)
Jews inside the Old
City on the way to Shabbat services
It appears to be a father and his sons
Two happy guys -
Jeff & Gid find a Diet Coke
A look at modern
Jerusalem from atop the Old City Walls
A look at David's
Citadel from atop the Old City Walls
David's Citadel was
one of the places we did not get to visit on this trip
Looking toward the
Mount of Olives and the large Jewish cemetery there
from atop the Old City Walls
Psalm 150 1Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens.
2 Praise Him for His acts
of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. 3 Praise
Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp
and lyre, 4 Praise Him with
tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute,
5 Praise Him with the
clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals. 6 Let everything that has
breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin
you shall again be adorned with your tabrets, and shall go forth
in the dances of them that make merry.
How can you go to Jerusalem and not dance on the Old City
Beit Yeshua's Machol
Dancers on the Old City Walls
Isaiah 62 6 On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set
watchmen; all the day and all the night they
shall never be silent. You who put the
Lord in remembrance, take no rest, 7and give him no
rest until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it a praise in the earth.
A group of IDF
soldiers headed toward Zion Gate
Remember to pray for the IDF - for God's protection and
wisdom in all they do
A little shopping in
the Christian and Armenian Quarters of the Old City
Brittany & Gloria
find T-Shirts in abundance
Chuck, Gid and Paul
looking for a Yemenite Kippa
A final lunch in the
Old City. Falafel or Shawarma anyone?
final "daytime" look at the Prima Kings - we'd soon be heading
to the airport
We all had a wonderful time in Israel, but
the day had finally arrived for us to head back to the US.
Bags were packed and set outside our door before dinner so that
they could be moved down to the bus. Usually our dinner
time at the Prima Kings Hotel was at 6:30 pm, but on this last
day our dinner time was moved to 6:00 pm. We had to be at
the bus at 6:45 to identify our bags and board the bus for the
Ben Gurion Airport by 7:00 pm.
our last dinner at the hotel, one of the waiters gave Carolyn a
rose before we departed
We arrived at the Ben Gurion Airport around 8:00 pm and
proceeded to have our bags x-rayed. Several in the group
were pulled out and questioned about why we had come to Israel
and where we had traveled during the trip. Eventually we
got to a line where we were to pick up our boarding passes.
This went pretty smooth for most of us, but there was a father
and son on the trip with the same name which caused a little
confusion and anxiety - but this, too, eventually worked itself
out. Next in the process was getting our passports stamped
- showing that we were leaving Israel. The entire process
took us an hour and a half to 2 hours. Eventually we did
get to the waiting area where our Delta flight would be
Our departure time from Tel-Aviv for those
flying Delta was scheduled for 12:05 am and we started boarding
the large airplane around 11:00 pm because of the 450+
passengers - after a final check of our carry on baggage.
The majority of the passengers on this flight back to the US
were Jewish, who were returning home after having been in Israel
for Sukkot. Each of these Jewish families seemed to have 3
- 5 small children.
jestfully called this the "Romper Room" flight because of all
Everyone was on the plane and everyone was
ready for departure at 12:05 am - but the plane taxied around
the runway for at least 30 - 45 minutes before we took off.
They did serve dinner on the air plane around 1:30 am and then
most everyone settled back for some sleep.
To see the YouTube Video of Pat Boone
singing the Theme Song from "EXODUS" -
More Photos and Information From the 2011