Israel Study Tour with Grace Central Coast

October 11-23, 2015

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18 October 2015, a day like any other, until we boarded the wooden Jesus ship and took over, voices raised in song as the stars and stripes were raised at the masthead. With both Mt. Arbel and Bet Ronen in our sights, we paused for some photographs and a few contemplative moments, with the sites of most of the miracles of Jesus just off to our right. We then demonstrated our mastery of both Hebrew and dance (with a brief detour through New Orleans), to the great envy of the Polish tourists on shore, with video to prove it.

Alighting upon our rubber hooved steed, onward to Beth She’an, where the Philistines nailed King Saul’s beheaded body to the wall. Strolling up the hill (with a brief break for human hydrologic recycling) to the original tel, we checked out the ruins of the Egyptian governor’s house, from @1200BC, this being about as far north as Egyptian hegemony reached. From atop the tel we looked west by northwest along the Jezreel Valley all the way to Caesarea (‘on a clear day’)… jeez, this place is at an intersection of one of the few east/west passes, intersecting the main north/south routes; you’d think there’d be a big city here! Hmmm…. Wassupwidat?

Beth Shean

Located 17 miles (27 km) south of the Sea of Galilee, Beth Shean is situated at the strategic junction of the Harod and Jordan Valleys. The fertility of the land and the abundance of water led the Jewish sages to say, “If the Garden of Eden is in the land of Israel, then its gate is Beth Shean.” It is no surprise then that the site has been almost continuously settled from the Chalcolithic period to the present.

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Meandering down the hill we all said “wow” upon seeing Schytopolis, the big apple. There we encountered Ronemus, a misguided youth from Chorazin who had absconded with his father’s olives and olive oil, sold them, and rather than return home, stuck around sin city. As the ladies of the night had promptly separated him from his money, he had fallen on hard times, very hard times, and had become… a tour guide. He showed us where to have fun, go shopping, get food, sweat up a storm in the steam baths, and of course, discuss the recent political debates while holding hands surrounded by uninhibited flatulence and other excretion in the communal toilets. Ah! The good old days! On to the theater (no, not the amphitheater, get with it!) where we confused the Hellenes and Romans with a Christian hymn.

Once again going mobile, we approached Mt. Gilboa where Saul fell on his sword. We stopped at Ein Harod where Gideon camped before defeating the Midianites. There we embarked upon contemplation, hot dog lunch, piscine pedicure, and swimming through the three beautiful pools, one stroke ahead of the infamous circumcision fish.

And thence to the bus back to Ein Gev, soon to be closing our eyes while transiting Tiberius; the remedy being

Brian & Atsuko Rees.
The inappropriate parts must be due to Atsuko


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