Here on my first day in Israel, I was so moved.
I’m in Israel, a place I have wanted to visit for many years.
I caught what was basically a “redeye” out of JFK at midnight, but the 10.5-hour flight to Tel Aviv wasn’t so bad. After a quick "refresh" at our hotel, the David Intercontinental, we rushed off to the ancient city of Jaffa. A city where Jews and Arabs live side by side, it is one of the oldest port cities in the world, some even say it is the oldest.
(The David Intercontinental in Tel Aviv)
Many believe Jaffa is named after Japhet, the son of Noah. It is the only Israeli city mentioned in Greek mythology—here in Jaffa Andromeda was rescued from the rock by Perseus, on his winged horse, after her mother Cassiopeia angered Poseidon. Jaffa is also where Jonah set out before being swallowed by the whale. Today the whale is a symbol of Jaffa.
Jaffa was also a major gateway in ancient times. In fact, the wood used to build Solomon’s Temple, often referred to as the First Temple, came by boat from Lebanon (Cedars of Lebanon) through Jaffa on the way to Jerusalem.
(Whale sculpture in Jaffa)
Napolean completely destroyed Jaffa in 1799. Rebuilt about 30 years ago the Old City of Jaffa’s winding stone alleys have been restored and recreated. Today, it’s a thriving artist colony with galleries, café’s and craft shops.
Tonight Jaffa’s Old Quarter was beautiful. The weather was perfect and the sky clear. Walking through alley after alley I was so moved. From just about every turn St. Peter’s Church stood above all the other beautiful stone buildings. The church was built in 1895 on the site of St. Peter's resurrection of Tabitha, one of Jesus’ disciples.
(St. Peter’s Church in Jaffa)
It is already two in the morning. I am so thrilled and energized after just a few hours in this great place. I can’t wait to share more with you.
Shalom. What a great word. It can mean hello, goodbye and peace!