The Book & The Spade
Tells, Tombs, Tunnels and Treasures Holyland Tour
Emek Tzurim Sifting
Tel es Safi/Gath
Yad Vashem, Ramat Rachel, Gath and Gezer
March 4, 2008
By Linda Lida
Our last day, and our first stop was Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum. This was the one place I truly did not want to see, and putting names and faces to the stories I had heard and read was not something I wanted to bring home with me.
So what can I write? No matter how carefully depicted, I felt like I had entered a hole in the earth: isolation, persecution, dispossession, imprisonment, deportation, extermination, The Silence of the Nations, and wondering if anything had really changed. It's all about survival. The Hall of Names makes your heart heavy. We were all there, and each of us brings home our own thoughts and memories. Such a place, and such a people. No wonder God chose them from all the families of earth. Who else but such a stiff necked people would have such a will to survive? It's still all about the Remnant in God's Plan. Eretz Israel.
We were joined late morning by Ross Voss, who had excavated with Keith Schoville at Tel Dan many years ago. We traveled on to Ramat Rachel, The heights of Rachel. It is thought this area was the kings' land, and a palace of the kings of Judah may be under excavation. Once again we jumped fences to see the results of the digs currently underway at the site, and hear the various theories that went with them.
After lunch at Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, and a quick stop for a group photo, Salim drove us down from the highlands to Tel es Safi/Gath, a city of the Philistines. We climbed the very tall Tel to the dig area. I was intrigued by Ross's explanation on how the location of a new dig is decided. For the upcoming new season a new location had been selected.
Our last stop on the tour was Tel Gezer. We arrived just before a golden sunset. Ellen was excited to finally have an example of mud brick walls in good condition to show us, having only been unearthed for a year or two. The monoliths were just like those described in Michener's book, The Source.
After Salim's grand finale, snaking the bus through narrow streets, chasing Ellen in the taxi that was showing us the way, we ended our day at a seaside restaurant in Jaffa with a traditional meal. It was not so different than the meal served at the Nazareth Village. Saying good-bye to all at the airport was so hurried it was hardly a fitting end to the most fabulous 14 days. (Talk about being Left Behind) This was truly a trip of a lifetime. Thank you Gordon and Keith.