Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day Thirteen - Hot

So I was slammed in email for being too happy the last two and a half weeks. This is not what they pay me for, I was told. It's boring, boring, boring. Where is the complaining, where is the 80%, where is the blackpetero we have come to expect. Sorry people, this has been a wonderful experience. True, my body aches, bending feels like my spine is made of flaming steel and my body has enough cuts and scratches that it looks like I wrestled all 15 cats at home simultaneously. I eat enough for three people and drink half the Kinneret dry each day. I am also completely caught up on the dig gossip, I know who is hooking up with whom and who to keep away from. I can quote large portions of "Family Guy" and "South Park", but I'm a complete amateur when it comes to beer bongs. Oh and it was as hot as hell today.

They put the "finds" out on display today and I must admit it was great to see all the stuff that has been uncovered these weeks. My bead was there, it is a pretty orange color, as well as some of the other stuff we have found. Well, there are just two days to go and then I will get back to my usual whining and complaining, I promise.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day Twelve - getting Used to It.

I think the thing that I'm most happy about with this three week adventure is that I've been able to survive the physical challenges. I was really worried after the first few days that I would not be able to keep it up. Now with three days to go I can dig for the full day and stay awake during lectures. I am much stronger than when I started. So maybe in a parallel universe I could have been an archaeologist, but I am happy with the way my life has gone. I'm very lucky that my work enables me to study what I want and do things like take three weeks vacation at Megiddo. All in all this has been awesome and I am very grateful to all that allowed me to do something I have always wanted. So, thanks, family and thanks squints, I have missed you all, but I'm having a ball.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day Eleven - Back to Work

I missed my hour nap this afternoon and hence I'm more exhausted than usual. I spend a wonderful weekend at home and left at 3:30am this morning and was up the Tel by 5. The weekend was so laid back that I never blogged for two days, the first time in forever. I slept a lot and watched the World Cup. It is amazing how much you appreciate the simple pleasures of home after a week on the Tel.

So it was back to work with a vengeance. We dug and sifted many, many buckets of sand. I'm sad that my time here is nearly up. Things are just getting exciting as we are approaching what is believed to be a floor. It's a big deal in archaeological circles. I sharpened my trowel over the weekend, and it was so sharp that it cut my finger when I reached into my bag to get it this morning. I am not sure how much a sharp trowel helps, because my right hand is getting huge from hours of troweling in the hard dirt, and the edge becomes dull rather quickly.

Being able to go home on the weekends is a huge bonus. Most of the kids spend their weekends drinking and traveling around the country. They went to see the dig at Hazor on Friday and then to Masada and the Dead Sea on Saturday. Each night was spent in the Kibbutz pub. Yet they were all ready to work this morning. It's good to be young, but I wouldn't swap my weekend at home for anything.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day Ten - and home again.

I'm home for the weekend. One more week to go for me at Megiddo 2010 and I'm already sad. I have had an amazing time. It is wonderful to come home for the weekend and at least I will get some sleep. My square, Area Q, D6 is coming along just great, thanks very much and I know I will hate to leave it at the end of next week. Once I got home and had some time in front of a real high speed network, I have posted some pictures below. The sizes are a bit wonky, but I'm too tired and worn out to futz with them now.

This is the view from our area this morning. We get to the Tel at 5am, and we watch the sun rise each morning (when we are not heads down in our squares). They are spectacular. That's Mount Tavor in the the distance and the Jezreel valley. Looks like Armageddon (the word is derived from Har Megiddo) is near :-)
I took this picture during the windstorm we had a few days back. It doesn't look so bad, but it was brutal believe me. Our black shade blew off completely and all the supports collapsed.
This is what our area looked like when we got back the morning after the storm. That's my square, D6 in the foreground. Those poles are the supports that used to hold up the shade. We got to work and in a few hours we had it all up and stable.
Below is what Area Q looks like at the moment. That's our Norma, dressed in orange in the distance. She is absolutely the most special leader you could hope to have on a dig. She is patient and kind and yet totally knowledgeable and when she puts her foot down, there is no argument.
These are my two squaremates, Katy and Katelynn. Two harder working and more fun partners you could not find. We have sweated through hundreds of buckets of dirt together. You can see some of the wall we uncovered in our square peeking out behind Katy. These are good people.
The picture below is of the two big cheeses Professors David Ussishkin (with his back to us) and Israel Finkelstein (using his hands) sitting in the pottery "reading" area. You can see the baskets of pottery at their feet. There are many of these filled each day on the Tel.
The two pictures below were taken by Professor Eric Cline, who is associate director of the dig and the chap who walks around all day with the camera. There a many, many pictures of Megiddo 2010 up on his facebook page which you can get to from the Megiddo blog - I have a couple of blog postings on that blog as well.

Dr. Cline caught me out and quickly snapped the shot below, as you can see, my gloves are not black. I'm sorry to say that is rather 80% of me.
Katelynn and I sifting - we found no gold unfortunately.
I think it's now time for bed. I get to sleep in my own comfy bed, next to my lovely wife. Life is very good.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day Nine - Good

We did well today. The first part of the morning was spent reinstalling our shade. I like that kind of work as it took lots of rope and knots and my boy scout training paid off. Then we dug. We are coming down on what looks like a wall in my square. It is really exciting, but now we will probably need to take the rest of the square down to the same level. We work in quadrants and do a quarter of the square at a time, so once one quarter is lower than the others, we spend time leveling out the rest. This week has flown by, it's hard to believe that tomorrow I'm off home for the weekend. I will leave straight from the Tel and should be home by early afternoon. An hours drive and a completely different world. I have some pictures to post, but the wifi here is rather slow so I will post them over the weekend. That's it for today - I'm off to sleep (I hope).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day Eight - The Wind

The forecast predicted that today would be the hottest day so far. Worst than yesterday. It was certainly very warm when as we walked up to our area this morning. But at 10:30am the Hamsin broke and with it came the wind. As previously mentioned our area is on top of the Tel and the wind up there is fierce, but today was unbelievable. The wind caught our shade and lifted it high, all the supports collapse and it flapped like a wild thing in the gusts. It was dangerous to say the least. Luckily no one was hurt and we evacuated the area quickly. We went down to help in area H, where we participated in our first bucket line. Basically a long line of people passing full buckets of dirt from one to the next until they are tipped into their dump. In our area (Q) we are lucky enough to have a straight wheelbarrow run to the edge of the Tel and so no lines are necessary. I have a new appreciation for my wheelbarrow. I had already grown rather fond of it. It's surprisingly satisfying to tip a load of sand and rocks over the edge and watch them tumble down the side. Small pleasures.

The chaos the wind caused meant a rather unscheduled day and I find I now have a free hour before dinner - a rare luxury, and another small pleasure. The wind has cooled and here at the Kibbutz the breeze is fresh and life is good. I feel my body getting stronger each day. While it still aches in the morning, I am able to work, crouching in my square, non stop for hours, taking water breaks when necessary. I have never absorbed more liquids and yet I can't seem to get enough. I miss home, the family and even the squints, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't having a good time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day Seven - It's Hot, Africa Hot

I am sure by this stage you are all rather bored reading about my going up and down the Tel. Sorry, but it's what I'm doing at the moment and for me life has certainly not been boring. I am learning loads. I have been listening to the conversations of the college students working around me. They are a hard partying and hard working lot. By now, it's clear who are the workers and who have trouble focusing and getting their act together. By this stage various clicks have formed and the partnering up has begun. The field techniques course has been great, the lectures are difficult to sit through, it's just that it's hard to concentrate at 8pm when you get up at 4am.

It was hot today. Boiling hot. I drank and drank and am still trying to catch up. Usually our area gets some breeze and that helps, but today the sun just beat down. I was bathed in sweat most of the day. The dust sticks and you end up sticky and filthy. I find I am also eating like a horse. I have never been so hungry. The caterer told me she had never seen people eat so much in her life. Slave labor must be fed. As I have said before the food is surprisingly good. I try talk to work each day and it seems the squints are doing fine without me.

At some point before I came on the dig, I fancied I would like to do the seven week program. I am so glad work dictated that this was not to be. Three weeks is enough. I don't think I would survive seven weeks of this kind of work. I don't know how these people do it. Everyone is tired and achy. I assume it gets better over time, but tomorrow is the half way mark for me and it's still murder on my body. I am sore in places I never knew I had.

Be well everyone, it's time for me to go try sleep.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day Six - Back to Work

I never posted yesterday (Saturday). I did nothing as I was so exhausted all weekend that all I did was sit in front of the TV and watch the World Cup. I opted to sleep at home last night figuring that even if I had to get up just after 3am and drive to the Tel, I would get more sleep without the world class snorer I share my room with on the Kibbutz. I motored to the Tel and drove in with the buses. I spent the day on the Tel digging and listening to stories of how much the kids drank on their various weekend jaunts around the country. The alcohol dealers in Israel must be seeing a bump in sales and the Kibbutz store has had to increase its quota of beer and spirits. They are good people though, and I really like working with them. They cut me slack and give me special dispensation for my advanced years.

We come back to the Kibbutz at 1pm, have lunch, shower and rest for a while and at 4pm we wash pottery and clean bone. It's a low stress repetitive task and I like it. The bosses then "read" the pottery, which is very entertaining. A lot gets turfed, particularly as we were looking at the stuff from the cleaning of the squares. Then we have our field techniques class - today we practiced using the spirit level to determine heights of artifacts, floors and walls. Then dinner. I will write more about the food some other time, but it is most decent and wholesome. We all eat a huge amount as the work on the Tel takes it out of you. Then after dinner at 8pm is a lecture. Tonight Phillipe talked about gaming at megiddo - we find quite a lot of astrogali (knuckle bones used as dice back then). Now it's after 9pm and my eyes are closing even as I type. Goodnight, wish me luck getting some sleep.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Twenty Three years of Bliss

Blackwifeo has put up with me (in married form) for twenty three years today. We celebrated as usual with a huge lunch at Segev. Their sprout salad is still the best I have ever eaten and the risotto was perfect. I am still stuffed five hours later.

I am blessed with the perfect partner in life. She is kind and forgiving, patient and supportive - all around the best human being to walk this planet. She had better make the best of the time we have here together because in the afterlife she will be alone in heaven. Completely alone, no one else is as good and kind as she. I love you sweetness. Thank you for making me better than I really am. That is all there is to say.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day Five - Home Sweet Home

There is nothing better than coming home to collapse on your own bed, shower in your own shower and of course talk to the people of your own choosing. I was rubbish on the Tel today. I was tired and cranky and at some point nauseous and dizzy. My square mates and the assistants really helped out and took up the slack for me, but I felt bad about it. It's clear to me now that archaeology is only half about books, research and writing. The other half is about heat, sweat, social skills, perseverance, tolerance and a considerable amount of stamina.

The first thing my lovely wife said to me as I walked in is "that rancid Pakistani milkman beard must go". She was right. When I looked at myself in the mirror I clearly understood why the young girl I offered a ride from the Kibbutz to Herzliya Pituach told me at the last minute that "she really doesn't know me and she would prefer not to ride with a stranger" (we have only been working cheek to jowl in the same area for the last week - I know these people better than I know some of my squints). So off came the "archaeological beard". Shaving at 4 in the morning during the last week just seemed like a bad idea.

I'm having a good time at the dig, really, but it is so good to be home. I promise to never complain about blackwifeo's snoring again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day Four - The aches

My body aches. I am sore pretty much everywhere. At least I'm not alone in this, most of the people I spoke to day were suffering as the pain of four days of physical labor took its tole. We all moved slower, but still worked very hard. I am looking forward to going home for the weekend tomorrow. But I'm still having a great time, all except for sleeping, which I hear is overrated anyway. The snorer roars on.

We spent a lot of time taking down a platform in our square. There was a lot of dirt to shift. I did find a bead. I will attach a picture of it when I get it as someone else took a picture of it. When I told blackdaughtero what I had find, she said "is that all. I have hundreds of beads. What's so exciting about that?". How little the young know. It's nearly 10pm and I'm way past my bedtime. So goodnight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day Three - Wheelbarrows

Day three was filled with wheelbarrow runs for me. We took out a wall, three huge stones and cleaned our square. This afternoon we washed pottery. It's now nearly dinner, after which there's a lecture. I feel my body getting stronger, I never believed I would be able to do what I'm doing, and honestly I'm loving it. It gets hot up on the Tel and the sleeping is not fantastic but everything else is just so absorbing. It's wonderful to not have to be responsible for anyone, no real decisions or pressure. I have to admit that it's a little hard to be interested in the kids conversation around me. Most of them are no older than blacksono and the conversation is very American. But man, can they work hard, bucketful after bucketful. I am convinced there is no better place to observe group dynamics. For an avowed peoplewatcher like me, this is heaven. The staff and "bosses" are as friendly and welcoming as they are knowledgeable. You can't help sharing their enthusiasm and energy.

This is my wheelbarrow, not full but with some big rocks.

This is the edge of the dump. It looks surprisingly uninteresting, but it is high. That's the road to Tzomet Megiddo in the distance.

From the edge of our dump we can see this graveyard - it's where they bury failed team members :-)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day Two - better

Day two was great. We started excavating and were assigned to our squares which meant less carrying and more working with a trowel. I like my team, everyone works very hard and is focused. Sleeping has not been easy as I have an Olympic gold medal snorer in my room. Honestly, I considered driving home last night and even did the calculation, one hour drive home at 9pm and up at 3:30 to get to the Tell by 5 - that would leave 5 and a half hours sleep at least. Which was probably more than I thought I would get. I was tired though and so toughed it out. What can you do. I even called bwo and let her listen to the unbelievable sound and she was speechless. This is real excellence in action.

Today was really great. I loved that there is so much to learn and everyone is so patient and happy to answer even the most trivial of questions. Usually in the afternoons we will be washing pottery, but seeing as we have only just started excavation, there is no pottery yet, so we had a few free hours before our first fieldwork course lecture at 6pm. Then supper at 7 and a talk at 8. So it's a full day. Somewhere in between all this I will have to think about doing the reading for my University of Leicester class and do the work for the fieldwork class I am taking here. But, all in all the people are great and I am learning so much. The weather has been fine and the kibbutz is breezy with wonderful views of the hills. So it's quite a happy blackpetero you have here today. I know, I know, it's not what you pay me for - I am sure I will find lots to be miserable about (I do have the snoring thing though).

Here is a picture that Eric Cline, one of the big bosses took on day one. You can see I get dirty. I'm more like dirtydustypetero than anything else. You can see my trusty swarmy knife in my hand as I work on the constant job of getting our shade to behave.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Real Day One

While yesterday was my first day here, today was the first day at the dig. Wow, it was hard. Up at 4am climbed up the Tel for the first time at 5am. Worked like slaves till 1pm. We filled sandbags, and cleared the shrubbery and bush, we carried equipment from the bottom of the Tel to the top (many times). By 1pm I was dead. On the bus home my head was pounding and I was seeing stars - typical migraine. I took my migraine medicine and collapsed on my bed, without lunch - I couldn't eat anything anyway. I was quite worried I would embarrassingly have to be taken to the emergency room with dehydration (I drank 3.5 liters of water on the Tel, but it seems that was not enough). I woke up after an hour or so and felt much better, but decided to miss the Tel tour they had this afternoon and just rest so I can be useful tomorrow. Dinner was actually quite good for a vegetarian. Now there's a "meeting hour" with free beer and snacks, but here I am blogging. Lots of lively young people, full of joy and friendliness.

You should be able to read my (vanilla) blog posting on the Meggido Blog later this evening. I have to post once a week.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day One

Well I've arrived at the kibbutz and after wondering around like a bit of a fool I found the "team headquarters". I was met by some friendly faces who gave me the key to my room. I'm a little early (of couse) and so there weren't a whole lot of people around. The buses from TA will arrive soon and the things will probably be hopping.

My room is rather small. It reminds me of those hotels in London, except that there are three people in this room. I got to choose my bed, although they are so close together that I don't see this making much difference. Still it has a nice A/C and a fridge. I haven't met my roommates yet. It's a little daunting meeting all these new folks, they are all rather tanned and buff. I basically feel like a fish out of water. Oh and it's hot.

It's very peaceful here in the mean time. The neighbouring room (a volunteer it looks like) has two sweet dogs. I will post more when I can. I'm going to suck it up and go meet people.

Please excuse any errors but this is "posted from my iPhone".

p.s. Seems I'm working in area Q. Of course, it's the best.

Friday, June 11, 2010

One More Day To Go

My vacation has started. I'll have three weeks away from the responsibilities of squint central, lucky me. Looks like this is going to be an intensive archaeological time for me. Not only will I be off to Megiddo for three weeks tomorrow, but my next MA course has started. The course is all about "Managing Archaeological Projects" so the dig comes at the right time.

One of the books they sent me for the course is "Writing about Archaeology" by Graham Connah. I wish I would have had this book when I started my studies. I particularly like the fact that he not only gives examples of good writing but also some examples of the kind of writing I really struggle with. Some of the books and papers I have read are so completely dense and obtuse that I find I can't stay awake for more than a page or two. It's nice to find something that is informative and easy to read.

I'm more or less packed and ready for tomorrow. I still have butterflies and have no idea what to expect. I see from the megiddo 2010 Facebook page that most of the team members have arrived and are living it up in Tel Aviv tonight before the start of the big dig tomorrow.

Hopefully I will be able to blog from the Kibbutz (Ramat HaShofet) - you will all get lots of archaeology over the next while, probably mixed with the usual complaining and moaning. Look after the world while I'm out, please.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Goodbye, Kevin, Goodbye

Kevin the Kirby is gone. They came and took him home yesterday. Blackwifeo was strong in the face of pressure. She even made them sign when they took him away. Why? you may ask. It's not as if he didn't fit in. He looked quite regal standing at attention in the living room, sort of a modern art cleaning ensemble. The problem is that they gave bwo 14 days to return the vacuum. She looked on Ebay and found you could get the same thing for much (much, much) less. More importantly the model they sold her wasn't even the sleek new "Sentria", but rather the older clunky model. She was pissed.

So we did what any self respecting Blackgoldsmith family member would do, we enlisted BlackAriO, the family dealer with all things messy. They called three times, then faxed and sent a registered letter to makes sure the Kirby people realized that Bwo was not kidding.

When blackwifeo called and spoke to a manager's manager, he asked her why she was returning this magical machine. "My husband wants to divorce me", was the first thing that popped into her head. "What over such a small amount of money", the fool answered. Now that really got her riled up. "If he wants to divorce me over the vacuum cleaner, then that's our problem", and not for some stiff who works for the premier "home care product" company to comment on. He actually wanted to send someone to talk with me. They are lucky he listened to her when she said that they had better not.

Anyone know of a good reliable, not gold plated vacuum cleaner?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Most Controvesial Tourism Ads

I love tourism ads. Just check out this CNN article on some of the most controversial. I'm impressed by the first one, although I'm not sure I understand what exactly it's advertising. Is it really saying, visit Denmark because blond Danish women are available for unprotected sex? Check it out. The Australian videos are just too lame for words.

Fleet Foxes

Tomer and Shlomit introduced me to the Fleet Foxes a while back. Which reminds me I should find some good video of Tomer's group Mad Bliss to post at some point. Anyway I like this video very much, the whole La Blogotheque Take-away shows are a great example of the cool things people are doing with music on YouTube. Enjoy Blue Ridge Mountains.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Poor Tree

Today's Raanana Weekly Photo is not a pretty site. Last week while driving home from work I saw this wreck at a traffic circle 200 meters from our house. I am not sure if anyone was hurt, the airbag definitely deployed, but I checked the tree and it has hardly a scratch. I have no idea how someone managed to drive straight into the circle, but with the talented drivers in this country anything is possible.

Oh and even though it looks like bwo's mizbeleh, it's not - I checked.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


One down, one to go. We're proud of you Gilad.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


This morning I visited Caesarea. A bit lame , I know. I've not been feeling all that great and did not want to stray too far from base. I still have a splitting head and not so good stomach, so I will just post the pictures in the mean time and fill in the words when I feel better. Even though I have been there many time, Caesarea is still a great place to walk around. It must be because there were thousands of tourists there as well.

It's now tomorrow and I'm feeling a lot better. Caesarea has a rich history, originally established as a Phoenician city during the Persian Era (586-332 BCE). It was later annexed by the Hashmonean Kingdon and eventually awarded to Herod (37-4 BCE) in 30 BCE. Herod was quite the builder and he spent 12 years and much money making a place of beauty. By 6 BCE it became the headquarters of the Roman government in the province of Palestine.

I remember reading of two interesting facts about Caesarea. Firstly, it was a place where Jews and Gentiles live together - conflict between the two groups started here in 66 CE led eventually to the Great Revolt, the fall of the second temple in 70CE and Masada in 73 CE. Secondly the Romans used hydraulic concrete (that set underwater) to create the harbour. This was quite a fete of engineering and parts of this harbour are still visible today.

O.K. So I like windows in arches. I have hundreds of pictures of these from all the various sites I have been to.
Seems that they are using the lawn in front of the restaurants for concerts these days. Nice backdrop - I have no idea who is performing here.
I have never seen so many fishermen in once place. I saw no one catch anything. This is on the breakwater that encloses the harbour.
Nice arches.
More nice arches.
There are also many nice mosaics. I like this one in particular.
The Romans liked their marble.
This is the hippodrome where they held chariot races. It is nicely restored and you can close your eyes and hear the horses thundering by - or maybe that was just my upset stomach.
I love this amphitheater. When I was young and a concert goer, I saw many excellent concerts here, including Dylan and Clapton and the Bolshoi Ballet. The seats are really hard, so rent a pillow and don't minge.
Summer is here. The lizards are out sunning themselves.

I like Caesarea, always have. It's near home, on the sea, huge and well preserved. No matter how many times I have been there I have yet to really explore the whole place.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Secret

The young wife is spending the weekend at a "woman's" seminar in the hills. They will do yoga, scrub auras, meditate on crystals and such. She called a while back and could not understand why I would not join her. She brightly mentioned there are a lot of "naked pregnant chicks" walking about. I am just so happy to be home, peacefully watching Zombieland. A fine movie. Ladies I will tell you the secret - all men want is to be left alone. It's true.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. In a little more than a week I'll be off feeding my post mid-life crisis (it will only be a mid-life crisis if I live to 100) with three weeks digging at Megiddo. When this whole archaeological thing started I told myself I would would take it easy. No more binary blackpetero. I'll study a bit and learn some new things, take it slow and not go overboard. But, true to form, I've taken things to extremes. First the weekend trips all over the country. Then the serious studying, with miles of papers and books and libraries and lectures and grades. Now, three weeks away from home (I do come home on weekends) in the sweltering sun with a bunch of people I don't know, sleeping in a kibbutz room with three strangers (who better not snore). That's nearly a year's worth of vacation from my day job.

Everyone has been more than supportive. The squints, as ever, have embraced my craziness. They tell me how "old people" love miluim because they can just sit back and do as they're told - no decisions, no responsibilities and excavating at Megiddo will be just like this. Still, I wonder if I can do this. Blackwifeo just smiles and brushes away off my doubts and believes in me as ever. Secretly they all just think I'm nuts and are just waiting to hear my moans and complaints.

Reading the instructions and directions don't help. Drink twice as much water as you think you need. Replenish your sunblock ever two hours (Melanoma is no fun), mosquito spray, knee pads, a Marshalltown 45-5 trowel, bring a sweater because it's cold on the Tel at 4:30 in the morning. And you get to pay money for the privilege.

I'm going to give it my best, but I would be lying if I claimed I'm not a little afraid. That's good I suppose.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I suppose, like any self-respecting blogger in the Holy Land, I should be talking about "The Gaza Flotilla". But, to be perfectly honest, I've had enough. You can find reams and reams, and columns upon columns written about this in the Israeli and world press. If you are looking for something interesting to read, just go read some of the writing for Book Week in Haaretz's Authors' Edition (I think Margaret Atwood is a master).

So instead I'm going to write about a phenomenon I have noticed recently - Jews For Jesus. I read on the "Raananalist" (which I liked more before it went "professional") that someone had spotted missionaries on Ahuza street. The writer was not happy about this at all and promptly notified the municipality and wanted to organize a "meeting". It appears these were Jews for Jesus people. Now, I was fascinated. I always thought that all missionary activity (except for the Jewish kind) was illegal in Israel. The Israeli Supreme court decided in 1993, that Jews for Jesus were "members of a different faith" and therefore not eligible for citizenship. I'm still not sure if missionary work is illegal or just "highly discouraged" (as stated in this USAToday report, note that Jack Teitel, the psychotic terrorist allegedly bombed the kid mentioned in the article). Then I heard that these guys had been spotted handing out pamphlets on the streets near Squint Central.

So I shrugged off my usual homemade salad and went out for lunch a few days back. I was thrilled when a smartly dressed young man strode briskly up to me and handed me the pamphlet below. Now it really does not say much. Mostly the theme is a play on the Hebrew word "Iskit" which in High-Tech talk describes the lunch deal us squints get at the local restaurants - (A first course, main course, and drink usually for 50 or so Sheks, what a deal). It seems we are missing the real lunch deal. Need I say more.

I looked at their Hebrew site, and then surfed around trying to figure out if they are allowed to do this or not. It seems unclear. The ADL website snidely comments that their main aim in Israel seems to be to teach Israelis that Jesus should be called Yeshua in Hebrew (it means salvation), and not Yeshoo as is typical. Their own site notes that "the religious establishment [in Israel] is vehemently opposed to Jewish believers in Jesus and often try disrupt evangelic endeavors". I bet they do.

I have been listening to a few lecture series on the New testament of late and it should be clear to everyone that Jesus himself was born, lived and died a Jew. Christianity came along after his death and is fundamentally different to Judaism. I don't think I can accept this mash-up middle ground stuff. Hey! but if people want to believe, who am I?