Day Off

Mahane Yehuda MarketDSC_0339Yummy SweetsHalvahDSC_0342Near Jaffa Rd
Iced Coffee @ Cafe HillelEmpty TramGraffiti near the Holy SelpuchreChurch of the Holy SepulchreEntrance to the ChurchDSC_0397
"The Stone of Anointing"DSC_0365Line up to the Holy SepulchreDSC_0363Entrance to TombsCatholicum
DSC_0359Mosaic Ceiling of "Calvary"DSC_0367DSC_0373I wonder how long those ladders have been thereColumns from two different stages

Day Off, a set on Flickr.

Given that I’ve had about 5 hours of sleep in the last 40 hours, I’m not writing a long post. Let us just say that we got our hopes up for Game 6. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Monday was my day off. So I decided to check out The Shuk, or city market. I love markets. Something about seeing local venders selling fruit, veges, spices, meat, baked goods, and things you’ll never need, in one concentrated place.

The day was pleasantly cool. So from the market I walked down Jaffa Road to the Old City. By the time I got to the Old City (I did a little shopping), all I had time for was to see the Holy Sepulchre.

The place was maddening.

I have no words for it. To see it, is to believe that such a place could exist. This “church” has been a place of conflict between various Christian communities for hundreds of years. In 1853 a decree was made to establish territorial control and a “status quo” over common areas – making renovations and repairs difficult. A fist fight actually broke out recently in 2008 and was caught on video. The physical space reflects the confusion and dissension. Things are in disarray, dirty, and gaudy. Any sense of the holy or sacred is lost in the rush of pilgrims prostrating themselves on a stone from the 1800’s, or people butting in line to see Jesus’ tomb (only it’s really not His tomb), or the constant noise of tour guides and clicking cameras.

It may be true that this was the actual site of Jesus’ death and burial, but good grief – this is how you commemorate it?

I could actually feel myself getting frustrated and had to get out to make some sense of the church (travel books are handy at this point). I went back in to see more but that didn’t last long. I know missed a few things, but I’m not sure if I want to go again… ever.

And to finish my day of adventure, I stayed with J&J again to watch game 6. We turned off the TV after the first period. Enough said. I caught the first bus back to Ein Kerem and made it in by 7AM. I had to start work at 8:30AM.

So, perhaps my rant over the Holy Sepulchre is partially induced by lack of sleep. But no amount of sleep will make the church better. Maybe a couple of drinks and a good dose of humor, and perhaps a playground so that everyone can learn how to play nice.

Madness, I tell you.

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