Friday, October 5, 2012

My Journey Through Israel - Part 2

Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2011 22:56:49

Goat Farm – Kibbutz Neot Smadar
(c) Daniel Yoffee Photography 
It is after midnight here in Jerusalem and we have to be up and out by 8:30 tomorrow morning but I just got back from a second dinner.  This one was with Grandma Yoffee's first cousin, his wife and their daughter and son-in-law.  They found us on the Internet a few years ago.  This was the first time that we met in person. 

Art Center - Kibbutz Neot Samar
(c) Daniel Yoffee Photography
This morning was our last breakfast at the kibbutz.  Some of the people that we had met during the week came to say goodbye.  

Nirit – Our Guide at Kibbutz Neot Smadar
(c) Daniel Yoffee Photography

On the way to Jerusalem we made three stops including lunch.  The first stop was Kibbutz Neot Smadar, which is thirty minutes north of Kibbutz Samar.  It has an art center that looks like it was built by Walt Disney but was built by people who were not architects and had no formal training.  The art center contains workshops for many different areas.  We toured a wood workshop and also saw a vineyard and tasted some very good wine.  From the fruit growing on the land they harvest organic wines, olive oil and dried fruits.  On the way to tour their vineyard we stopped to see some goats.  Their diary produces a variety of goat cheeses and yogurts.  Their gift shop sells many beautiful handmade items. 

Mariam – Bedouin entrepreneur
(C) Daniel Yoffee Photography 
After lunch we went to meet a Bedouin (Arab) woman, Mariam who went to school in England, returned to Israel and started a skin care company instead of getting married and starting a family, as is tradition.  We took pictures of her that will be used for advertising back in England.  On the way there we passed the Ramon Crater, a geological feature of the Negev desert.  The crater is 25 miles long and between 1 and 10 miles wide.

We arrived in Jerusalem in time for a very enjoyable dinner at a Lebanese restaurant.  Tomorrow we go to the Old city in Jerusalem.

Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2011 20:52:39

Today is the day that my solo exhibit opens at the Pearl River, NY library.  It runs until February 6.  I will have a reception from 3-5 on January 30th.  Some of the people from this trip will be in attendance.  All 12 of us have gotten along so well and got to know each other better than we did before.

Remembering – Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
(c) Daniel Yoffee Photography 
This morning we had breakfast here at Rose of the Castel, the bed and breakfast that we are staying in near Jerusalem.  There is just enough room for all of us.  The people who own the place are from Finland.  They say they have to volunteer because they cannot get a work visa. 

Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
(c) Daniel Yoffee Photography 
We drove to Jerusalem and saw some of the city – the Dome of the Rock, the Golden Gate and St. Stephen’s Church, St. Mary Magdalene and the Jewish Cemetery.  We stopped by the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to take pictures of the church and Jerusalem's old city.  We walked around the Via Dolorosa photographing the markets and people. 

A Photo of A Photo – The Western Wall, Jerusalem 
(c) Daniel Yoffee Photography

After lunch at a restaurant near the Jaffa Gate that opened early for us we went to the Western Wall or as some people call it the Wailing Wall.   It is the section of the Western supporting wall of the Temple Mount, which has remained intact since the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple.  It is the most sacred spot in the Jewish religion.  As with almost every building in Jerusalem the building is made of Jerusalem stone. This was a law enacted by the first mayor.  At the wall there were separate entrances for men and woman. Many people write something on a piece of paper and place it in the wall. The messages are usually to remember someone who has passed or a prayer or thought for someone who is ill.  We spent almost an hour at the wall.  I thought about Grandma Yoffee's dream of us going to Israel and of course Alan.

Mount Olives – Jerusalem
(c) Daniel Yoffee Photography 
We then went to a park that gave us the opposite view of our first stop in the morning. We then went downtown to practice night photography. I got some good tips. 

After a nice dinner nearby at Karma Restaurant we returned to the Castel Residence.  A reporter from the Jewish Standard interviewed some of us for a future article that will be featured with some of our photos.  We then met to discuss our final day, which includes a trip to Tel Aviv and Jaffa, and to discuss how the trip went so far. My camera is charged and ready to go despite the fact that I thought I would be bored after a few days of constant photography.

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