Aside

Today is the last day of Sukkot which is the last of a succession of several Jewish holidays in Israel.

Sunday of last week I got invited via another non-Jewish friend* to a party in a religious area of Jerusalem close to Meir Sherim.   There must of been 40-50 people in this structure, food was pretty good, my favourite was salmon in some kind of spicey sauce.   The religious Jews there ranged from Kippor wearing Americans on holiday from Texas to Ultra Orthodox with fox fur hats and stripey gowns, there were some Russian people there as they had a torah in their language.    Its touching that many Jews are happy to invite strangers over to their communities for this special holiday, and make sure there is enough food and seats for extra people to come at short notice, including anyone who might be lonely or away from family to join in.

Two days ago, on a Saturday I went to a friend’s house who teaches Hebrew and had another meal there too.

A lot of restaurants provide Sukkot tents outside their establishments for patrons to sit and eat.

* I meant to say, on the first party I went to, my friend who brought me along is an Arab believer in Jesus, perhaps seems unlikely story, but its thrilling to see genuine friendships between Jews and Arabs here.   On the way we got approached outside a different religious area by Orthodox Jews asking if we could help as their electricity and gone off and they needed someone gentile to flip the breaker switch, which they felt uncomfortable doing as it was a religious holiday, so we were happy to help.

All the holidays are now done, and its back to work tomorrow, no more holidays until Hanukah which is at the early part of December this year, as sometimes it runs parallel with Christmas.

Oh, something else very significant, both the early on in the festival of Sukkot and the last day, it rained!   Although we are in October it seems a little bit early for rain season.

In Jerusalem on the last day of Sukkot

Double celebrations! Sukkot in Jerusalem and Gilad Schalit’s release

During Sukkot, there is a march through the city each year, usually people from different government organisations like the army, the Magon David ambulance, El-Al airlines etc as well as groups of Christians from all over the world with flags from their respective countries.

The event was just over as I took this stretched picture, but people were sitting on hotel balconies and out in the street with armed guards and buses parked sideways in the roads as make shift barricades.

I heard on the news about the real possibility of abducted soldier Gilad Schalit and thought I would believe it when I see it, knowing that terrorist organisations should be not be trusted with any kind of deal.   It amazes me to think that a swap of 1,000 Palestinian terrorists for one soldier has not been condemned as wrong or immoral by the UN, Red Cross, any moderate Islamic organisations or indeed any nation at all.   A large number of these Palestinians were jailed for suicide bombings and other appalling tragedies.   Nevertheless this shows the people of Israel’s value of human life, I think Yeshua’s story about the lost sheep is quite relevant here: Luke 15 : 3-7

I had to run some errands for some people at work which involved taking a 8 mile or so ride in a car to drop off some food for a staff meeting.  On the way was a helicopter close to a main road that had either just landed or about take off next to a police station. Quite possibly part of the process of releasing the prisoners.

I have been praying for Gilad and written some updates here as I used to pass tents campaigning for his release every day.

https://britinjerusalem.com/2009/10/02/succot-and-gilat-shalit-video/

https://britinjerusalem.com/2010/08/18/kidnapped-gilad-shalit-4-years-on 

Later on I went to a convenience store to get something for lunch to see a 5 second video of Gilad drinking a bottle of water next to a helicopter and smiling, so this was proof Gilad was coming home and so desperately what the people of this nation wanted to see, although there was understandable anguish from families who had lost loved ones to terrorism.

If you see the tall overhead traffic light in the above picture, if you turn right, this heads down Berlin Street, just a few yards down there is the Gilad Schalit tent which I have visited before.   This place is a kind of protest structure and shrine to this young man locked up for 5 years.

Outside this spot, there isn’t as many people as I thought, but the atmosphere is still buzzing!!

Here, I got to watch the TV on a projector as they showed Gilad in a car been taken to his parents house in the upper Galilee, there is a emotional sense of satisfaction as it shows the front door of his family’s home shut giving him some much needed privacy and he looked clearly pale and disoriented when on the TV.

This was a really good to be in this city when this history making event happened.

I think we need thanks for our loving Father in heaven that has been a happy ending to this ordeal, and I hope everyone in Israel and overseas who has been watching this does too.

Part of the quirky nature of Jerusalem means I often see friends, Christian, Jewish and Arab, natives, immigrants and foreigners accidentally in different parts of the city, I hope to one day see Gilad here and shake his hand when hes in a fit state to get around. 🙂   I expect hes going to want to know what a Facebook is and amazed at the amount of publicity there has been to get him free.

A few days ago, a friend from my church pointed out some interesting scripture about Sukkot and foreign Christians gentiles visiting…  more soon!

Jerusalem Parade

Jaffa Street is looking like a race track, there are loads of police and security, mainly trying to make sure people don’t walk across the road.

This parade is a big event that happens each year and is lots of fun.   Its not political although there are soldiers there, and the police, various Christian organisations.

Vintage buses and trucks, some are very old, probably date around 1948.

Left. Gasp!  The new electric lightrail train is here!  Apparently its not supposed to be running yet, just a brief glimpse of it was operating today only.   The electric overhead wires were powered on a couple of weeks ago, but some of the infrastructure is not finished, there are some computer screens on the bus stops are not installed yet. Right. Police dog handlers.  The canines seem to be an unusual indeterminate breed, they are shorter and stockier than typical German Shepherds normally use for police and military uses.

El-Al, Israel’s national airline, had their pilots and stewards out doing their own dance.

The International Chrisitan Embassy Jerusalem. (ICEJ)

Some Christians from the Philipines…

and Norway, Hong Kong, China…

Below from the Daily Planet…

Disabled Israelis also here.   There were loads more people attending, but I had to get back to work. 🙂

Sukkot tents

At work we had a birthday lunch outside with a Sukkah tent.   These temporary structures are popular all over Israel as a place for Jews to eat and sleep in them for this festival.   Sometimes they are tents and some are shed like buildings, they are decorated with palm trees, plastic or real fruit and Christmas-style decorations, kind of all the fun of camping but just outside your house.

Just off the side of Jaffa Street, there is a huge Sukkah put on by Jerusalem Municipality.   There is local artwork being shown inside, and behind was a stage with a big free concert is on, there was some Ethiopian girls singing in their native Amharic language.   Of course there wasn’t any English commentary to this show, so I don’t know if this was a charity event.