The Salty Sea

Friday, March 15, 2013
Today was a relaxing day, so to speak. We journeyed to Qumran, the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

The cave where the first scrolls were found.

The cave where the first scrolls were found.

That was interesting enough, but then we also learned a bit about the people who had lived their lives there, and the impact they likely had on Christianity as we know it.

A bath.

A bath.

We then went to Masada and rode a cable car to Herod’s fortress on the hill-top.

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We toured it, wandering through the streets and rooms that once were, high above the surrounding area, and explored the history of it, how it came to be, and how it managed to survive (the key was an impossibly large supply of water).From there, after riding the cable-car back down, we went to the Dead Sea, to the fancy Crowne Plaza Hotel. Floating in the Dead Sea (or Salty Sea, as it is known in Hebrew), is every bit as awesome as you think it’s going to be. What’s most interesting isn’t how easy it is to float, but how difficult it is to do something as simple as standing up. The buoyancy almost feels as if it controls you, but the salt really makes your skin feel good, smooth. Except on the lips, which sting, and god help you if you get it in our eyes.

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Salt.

We finished our travels by viewing Shabbat at the Western Wall. While it was very interesting from a sociological perspective, and gave an amazing illustration of the different kinds of Judaism that in habits the city, from the ultra-orthodox to the more reform minded, I felt very uncomfortable.

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I felt as if we were intruding on a private thing, that we were turning them into a spectacle.
We finished the night by having Shabbat dinner at the hotel, which really brought us together, in the way that only a ritual can, and was incredibly illuminating.

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