I have been back one week from a quick research trip to Jerusalem. As part of my work on Peasants & Jews, I needed to track down the records of East Fresian Jews who survived the Holocaust. As part of this, I was able to see documents at Yad Vashem, the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People and the Central Zionist Archives. Everywhere I was greeted by accommodating and helpful archivists.
I took advantage of Shabbat closures to visit the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. Pictured above, the Orthodox alter atop Calvary. What an amazing spiritual experience. In preparation for my visit, I reread the literature on the site: its origins as a holy place for early Christians, the pilgrimage of Constantine’s mother Helen and the creation of the basilica and the many destructions and reconstructions since. Later in the week, I returned to hear vespers chanted in Latin in the Franciscan chapel and participate in a candle-light Way-of-the-Cross procession.
I am of course hooked and look forward to my next visit. Might as well be optimistic, right?