leon gork tour guide
Newsletter 49: Pre-Passover Tours
It seems that the last no newsletter I posted was in January, so it's about time I put you up to date with what is really happening in Israel, what the newspapers don't publish because telling it doesn't create sensations and doesn't sell newspapers.
This period, since last writing, can be divided into three periods; the pre-Passover period, the Passover period and the post Passover period.
The highlight of all the periods, of course were the tourists I guided. Some of them were Jews and others were Christians but they all had in common a great love for Israel and were eager to visit all the places that gave them a better understanding of the land and the People of Israel.
In the pre Passover period we traveled mostly in the North. We even came as far as the top of Mt. Hermon, which we ascended by ski lift and played in the deep snow.
On the Golan Height we visited Gamla, the ruins of a 2nd Temple period Jewish town, now a national park.
There are the well preserved ruins of a 2nd Temple period synagogue and there is a vulture lookout. We were asked to be especially quiet not to disturb the brooding vultures.
There were anemones everywhere; the land looked like it was covered in a colored carpet of flowers.
I was very pleased to notice a new, caring attitude on the part of park officials. For the first time in all the years that I've been visiting National Parks an official has taken the trouble to explain to me and the group I was guiding that we should leave the park one hour before closing so that the animals could have the park to themselves during daylight hours without being disturbed.
This reminded me that we were visitors and the animals were the permanent residents.
Both the early closing of the park and the care taken to explain this show a new approach to us the tourists and to the conservation of nature in the park.
Another example of this new attitude is the clean up by the Jerusalem municipality of all the areas around the ancient walls of the city.
It has become a pleasure to walk around Jerusalem's walls without tramping through piles of trash.
One of the most popular sites to visit these days in Israel is the City of David. I've been there several times recently. It's been very crowded. I think the big attraction is the feeling of authenticity that one gets because the archaeological remains found there vividly portray the period when the kings of Israel ruled the land from Jerusalem.
These remains bring to life historical figures like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hezekiah and others in a very real way.
The famous water tunnel of Hezekiah is an example of this, also the "Bulae" (letter seals with the scribes name imprinted on it), ashes clearly showing that the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem by fire in 586 BCE, remains of houses from the time of the kings, the great pool where the festival of "Simhat Bet Hashoeva" (drawing water of the first rains at the feast of Tabernacles) and so on.
Wishing you a great no news day.