Well, we have had a wonderful tour. The tour guide was wonderful, the driver actually was able to overcome the laws of momentum, physics and gravity by driving in such as way as the large, cumbersome bus was able to do things I couldn’t do in a Volkswagon Beetle.
One thing that was a problem, which is why I am writing this blog at 0125 in the morning, is that at 2200 (that’s 11 at night to you civilian types) I received a notification that our El Al flight leaving at 0840 was rescheduled to 1400 (2:00 PM) and would be on a Spanish airline. That means we would all miss our connecting flights back to Florida (and other places for some people) by the time we got to JFK airport in New York. So, we cancelled the 0400 wake-up call for everyone, called the rooms to let them know they could sleep in (hello, wake up, go back to sleep) and the Pastor who put this all together and I checked out alternatives. As we were thinking it through, El Al called me and we found out that we could take an earlier flight to Frankfurt (yes, the Frankfurt in Germany), then switch to Lufthansa and take that to JFK and arrive around 1335 in NY, which was about the same time we expected to land originally.
Well, that was good news and the El Al guy said there were plenty of seats (we needed to change flight plans for 14 people) and to call back if we wanted to do this, then he was gone. We called everyone, woke them up (again) and told them that the 0400 wake-up call would now be 0200 so we can be on the bus at 0300 so we can be at the airport in time to catch the 0610 flight to Germany.
Then we called El Al to confirm that we wanted to change everyone, but they couldn’t do that for me without the reservation /confirmation number for everyone, or their passport number. So, once again we had to wake everyone up, but this time we needed their passports; some of the others (since they were now up) went to the rooms and knocked on the doors: “Wake up, give me your passport, go back to sleep.”
I managed to get all 14 tickets changed, and El Al was nice enough to send all the change confirmations to my email. Well, almost all- I am listening to their MUZAK waiting to ask someone to send me two more changes I need to make sure I have confirmation of all the ticket changes.
Needless to say, I will be sleeping on the plane.
This last day we went to the Mount of Olives, Garden Tomb and Gethsemane. My poor little SD camera card gave up the ghost and I lost about 40% of the pictures I took today, but it was mostly just the garden tomb and that is OK. I have plenty of other pics and once I get home (assuming I do, that is) I will try to add a media page so you can look at the pics, too. If you want to , of course.
One of the most remarkable things about this tour is how well it has worked out (all except tonight, that is) but even with the flight screw-up, we will (probably) be OK . There are a number of people with me who have been Believers a long time, and have not had the chance to be really exposed to the Jewish thinking about Christianity, which our guide provided for us very well. I try to let people know how Christians need to “deal” with Jews, and this group was very open to the fact that Christianity has been, historically, Anti-Semitic. It can be very uncomfortable for a person who has a heart for Israel and the Jewish people, as all my traveling companions do, to hear the truth about why there is such a rift between Judaism and Christianity, when the only thing that makes sense is that we should all be working together. We are branches on the same tree- some natural, some grafted in, but we all feed off the same root and should be nourished the same way. Unfortunately, when the enemy lost the fight for dominance by reason of Yeshua’s resurrection, he made a very effective counter-attack. The general he used was Constantine, and the battle has raged since then, with the enemy gaining back a lot of ground.
Praise God that recently the rift is becoming thinner and thinner, as more and more Christians begin to understand how they need to work with Jews and to get back to the roots of their religion, which is God’s Word from Genesis through Revelations.
(I just got through the MUZAK and the El Al person came on. I gave her my name and reservation number and before I could explain what we have done she said, “Oh- you’re the one with the 14 tickets!” OMG- El Al knows me! She confirmed that the missing confirmations were in the queue and I would receive the tickets. I’m a celebrity!)
If you haven’t been to Israel, you really should come here. I am very impressed with all the history, everywhere, as well as the modern buildings and remarkable growth. The prophets all said the people would be regathered and the desert would become a garden- well, that prophecy isn’t a prophecy any more- it is now history.
(On my second cup of “room” coffee and the wake-up call just came in. So far, so good.)
I haven’t felt that change of life feeling that everyone I have heard tells me I should have. I wanted to come, I have come, and I have seen (no Romanized pun intended) and I am impressed. But, I have to admit, I have not felt some tugging of my spirit to make Aliyah (move here permanently) and I am almost a little defensive when my Christian travel companions have asked me, “Aren’t you going to make Aliyah?”
No- I am not. I am Jew and I am a Believer, and I love Israel and it is MY land, but it is not my country. I am an American by birth, I took an oath to protect America when I was commissioned into the Marine Corps, and just because I am no longer on active duty that doesn’t mean, for me, that the oath is no longer valid. Just because I am a Jew doesn’t mean I have to make Aliyah to be a “good” Jew. I almost feel that the question is close to racist, in that there is that assumption that all Jews want to make Aliyah. No- they don’t.
This isn’t like the 1920’s Jews that were invited to come here by both Britain and (believe it or not) Jordan, who stayed in Germany and Europe (and the US, too) because it was comfortable and they were assimilated. At that time God was calling us back (just for the record, I wasn’t born then) and we refused to go. The result was that they were there when Hitler took over. There is a passage in the bible (more than one, actually) that tells us what will happen when we want to join the world and no longer separate ourselves for God. According to our guide, Yosi, the Holocaust was the result of that refusal to return in order to assimilate. I think I will have to agree.
On the other hand, he also pointed out that without the Holocaust there would be no state of Israel. Zionism had already been around since the early part of the 20th Century, but after the Holocaust Jews had no where to go but Israel. So, God caused us to return, but we had to do it the hard way.
One way or another, God’s plan will be completed.
Will I ever make Aliyah? Probably not in this life, but there is land for me, somewhere, in Israel. I will see it when the resurrection is completed.
Would I like to make Aliyah? The answer is the same- probably. But I don’t see that as a possibility in the foreseeable future. I guess if God really wants me in Israel, He will make a path for me. Until then, although I believe in walking in faith instead of sitting around and waiting for it, I will continue to live my life as it is. Hopefully, Donna and I will be able to come back here on our own one day and if Donna wants to live here, we might. It isn’t all that easy since I have to prove my Judaism and all I have is my Bar Mitzvah certificate, and Donna (being a Gentile) may be allowed to join me but that will be harder to get done.
Look at the clock! I have to get ready. I will (hopefully) recover enough by Sunday to work on getting the pictures uploaded to the blog site for you, so to those who are already following this site you will get a notice, and to anyone who is just reading this, maybe you would like to become a follower of the blog? Just look for the “Follow” button and add your email to the list. I would appreciate it, and if you like what you read, please buy my book (I also have a link to some sites where you can get it) and get on board the “God has no religion” train.
I am soooo looking forward to holding my wife in my arms again. We both have already agreed that this is the last, absolutely last, separate vacation we will ever take.