Thursday, December 4, 2014


It was dark when we arrived at Shoshi's apartment and also the end of the Sabbath. We were going to pick up her mother and her brother, Moshe, who was going to be my guide for the next part of my journey, as we were going out for supper.

Off we went, and while we were eating, Moshe asked me what I wanted to see, what was I interested in? Where do you start to answer a question like that? I knew we were going to Jerusalem, so what should I be thinking of seeing there? Well, history, archaeology, and whatever else would be appropriate, I do love history and I thought it important to learn, and the only way I would do that would be to delve into the history, biblical and otherwise of 2000 years. I hoped that gave him some insight, and I was happy to leave it up to him.

I should explain that Moshe is a tour guide, and my goodness, I couldn't have a better guide. He was a scholar, and what he didn't know about a place and it's history in Israel probably isn't worth knowing, and if he didn't know it, he would have found out about it and let me know. We had a very pleasant evening in the restaurant, and then he said to Shoshi that he would like to show me a couple of places this evening before going home. And so it was after the meal we headed for the town of Holon. It's right next to Bat-Yam, and they spill one into another, and after a bit of direction, Shoshi let us out and we left her to park the car. I shall talk about traffic in Israel - it's very interesting, but that will have to wait for the moment.

We had stopped at a park which Moshe wanted me to see as there were all sorts of children's stories depicted. It was really lovely and some of the stories were fun.

I loved these little elves in their upturned mushroom

This story was possibly my favourite. It involved the story of hair lice, one of which was searching for the perfect spot which she found on the top of a head without any hair, and there was a model of a bald head with a lice/louse in a deckchair sunning herself under an umbrella. The head rather reminded me of our neighbour who happens to be bald so it rather made me chuckle thinking about it. It apparently cause a bit of a problem with the children if they happened to have lice and needed treatment as they were all worried they might be killing the little lice/louse on top of the bald head. 

This story, which was built on a hill which one walked up, was about ego and was a lovely tale. The last photo shows Mrs Pigeon who moves into the building and is very happy with her lot.

It was a lovely park and there were lots of other pieces to look at and stories to learn. But, it was time to move on, so it was back to the car and with Moshe directing, we then drove around a little before ending up in what I thought, was a very interesting area tucked away from any tourist area.

We are all familiar with the parable in the Bible of the Good Samaritan, but what I didn't realize is that the Samaritan's really exist and there is a small community of them to this day that live in Holon, and this is where Moshe had brought us. I was fascinated.

The area was not huge a few dozen houses, but there was the synagogue at the end of the street. The text above the door is ancient Hebrew which is still used by the Samaritan's and is totally unlike the more gothic or modern day Hebrew text which is similar to Aramaic, this was very angular. The synagogues are also very different to the ones that we think of today, apparently there will be carpets on the floor of the synagogue, no pews,  and the congregation will remove its shoes before entering. Now, if you think that is similar to a mosque you would not be wrong but thats what they do.

In a Jewish home, there will always be a mezuzah on the door post, this contains a small piece of the Torah and is generally touched on the way in through the door. I have seen many and actually saw the children in the Hebrew school touch it as they reentered the classroom after a break.  The Samaritans have theirs over a door way which I found interesting.

Even the street signs are in three languages, Hebrew, English and Samaritan. Moshe also told us about the festival of Sukkot which is different again in this community.  Sukkoth takes place five days after the solemn time of Yom Kippur, and is a joyous celebration. It involves building a sukkah outside, which has three sides that will withstand wind, and the roof will be covered in palm leaves and other ground grown plants, ( I have looked this up as I know a little but not much and I want to get this right.) It will then be decorated. In the Samaritan community, it is inside the living room and will have fruits hung from it, Moshe tells me that he had been inside and seen one at the Festival of Sukkoth. 

This was the start of my education and things just got better from here on in. I will not go any further than to say that after this we dropped them off and went home, and I was going to be spending the day with Moshe doing Old Jaffa and Tel Aviv, and if you think that doesn't sound like very much, wait till I tell you about it.........

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