Mother’s Day in Jerusalem

Certainly not planned, but it did work out that we celebrated Mother’s Day in Israel.  Here is how the day went...

These are the pastries were bought the night before.
Heading out to the Western Wall.  This is not far from where were are staying, so this was  a perfect location with a great view of the old city.
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Some pictures from our walk over.
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As soon as we entered the gates, I spotted these little boys selling what looked like big oval bagels and some other bread type item.
The entrance we used was the Jaffa gate.
Here were are entering the Souk, or market, which is the Muslim and Christian Quarters of the old city.  We walked through on our way to the wall.
I was excited to see the spices for sale.
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Ahhh, then we got to the wall.  Why is it so busy and partially closed off with lots going on?  Well, it’s in preparation for Memorial Day (Israeli Army), which started that night, followed by Israeli Independence Day.
Welcome to the Western Wall!  You may have also heard this called the Wailing Wall.
When we were there, the military was busy setting up chairs and the TV crews were coming in.
Here I am with my grandpa.  A priceless picture!
Women and men pray in separate areas at the wall.  This is customary Orthodox (Jewish) practice.
Behind us was the free kitchen for the needy and I thought this was a great place for this kitchen.
Here we are approaching the wall.
Me at the Wall.
Here is the crack where we placed our notes.  I brought a bunch from the 7th grade World Geography classes at the school where I work on the US base.  They have studied Judaism and Israel, but none of them are Jewish and I thought they might like to send their prayers to the Wall, which they studied about in school.  So after I folded tons of these notes, we crammed them in here.
I will also state now that I zoomed in and was not actually taking pictures on top of these people praying at the holiest place on earth (from the standpoint of my religion, but for some others as well).
Here we are heading out and you can see the old city.
I had to take a picture of this.  This was at the wall.
After we left, we hit up the Souk and did a little shopping.  At the request of my sister, I tried the watermelon juice.  I am not a big watermelon person, but this was great.  They do grow watermelon here, so this would be the right place to give the juice a try.
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He also made other juices.
Then we found a falafel and shawarma place.  Shawarma is thinly sliced meat.  Obviously I passed on this, but I did go for a falafel.
Look at the salad bar to accompany the falafel sandwich.
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Here are some kebabs.
Here I am with my massive, massive falafel sandwich. 
I loved that this place, and the other stalls in the market are built right into the old city structures.
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Then it was back to the spice stall to make my purchase.
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I found these great spice, fruit, and nut mixes that you add to rice when it is cooking and it flavors it.  I can’t wait to make some rice when I get home.
As we were walking home, my Aunt and I spotted a delivery man walking in the complex with a beautiful fruit tray.  Jokingly, my Aunt said “we’re going with you” and we started to walk with him.  Only to find he was headed to the same building as us, and then asked us which apartment and we told him and he was headed there too.  This was too weird, and thought maybe my grandpa ordered this for Mother’s Day.  He came out and was very surprised.  The delivery man asked my name and confirmed this was for us.  Look how beautiful!
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I will get to the unwrapped pictures later.  This tray was delivered by a Jewish charity as a welcome gift for our family.  I will get into this more later, but I have some involvement (really my mom) with this charity.
The next stop was picking up lunch.  My grandma had a hip replacement at the start of the year, so she can only do so much.  We thought picking up food was a good idea, and I was not even hungry because of the falafel I ate a little earlier in the day.  My grandpa and I went out to the market and to pick up some food.
I get this kind of yogurt in the commissary on the base.
Even seen Israeli Ben and Jerry’s?  Here you go!
I can’t wait to come back and pick up some wine to take back to the island.  It is always much cheaper to buy in a grocery store.
Then I spotted a falafel joint.  My Aunt wanted a falafel for lunch, even though she had a little bite earlier of mine.
I can actually read Hebrew (I have no idea what any means) so I have been enjoying reading the words on menus and sounding out the words.  This is also the salad bar for the falafel sandwiches.
At this place they make the falafel fresh, so here is the falafel and fries cooking up.
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Yes!  We have falafel success!
Next up was Mamila Deli, so my grandparents could get a sandwich.
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Back at the condo, I opened up the fruit to admire the lovely tray that was sent to us.
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There was a mystery fruit.  I wouldn’t have cared so much to investigate, but this fruit was delicious and I really wanted to know.  After an internet search for Israeli fruits, I think I have determined that this is a loquat.  Ever hear of one?
Here is some information I found on the internet about loquats:

The loquat is indigenous to southeastern China. It was introduced into Japan and became naturalized there in very early times. It has been cultivated in Japan for over 1,000 years. It has also become naturalized in India and many other areas. Chinese immigrants are presumed to have carried the loquat to Hawaii. It was common as a small-fruited ornamental in California in the 1870's, and the improved variety, Giant, was being sold there by 1887. Japan is the leading producer of loquats, followed by Israel and Brazil.

Loquat may be eaten fresh without the peel, combined with other fruits in fruit salads, used as a pie filling, and made into sauces and gelatin desserts, jams, and jellies. Fruit may also be canned, dried, frozen, and made into syrup. Loquat fruit are a good source of vitamins and minerals

I am very excited to know these are popular in Japan.

Another treat for me was the chocolate that my grandpa brought me from the hotel they stayed at in Tel Aviv.
Later in the afternoon we visited Yad Vashem.  This is the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.
It is on top of this hill and has a beautiful view of the city.
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Here I am, with the windy blowing my dress around.  We were lucky none of us blew off the mountain.
Here are some memorial plaques.
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This is the memorial for the children who were lost during the Holocaust.
On a happier note, remembrance is key, and we will never let this happen again.  Here is a sculpture on the way out.
Since it was the start of Memorial Day (holidays start the night before), everything was closing early.  We were smart and ran across the street, back to Rimon (where we ate the night before) and picked up carry out to eat in the condo.
They almost forgot the bread, but we were good and checked, and they quickly fixed their big mistake.
My grandparents went with the pizza again.  I really think it was the cheese and the olives that made this pizza.
I had onion soup.  I can rarely find onion soup because it is beef based, but this was a kosher dairy restaurant, so I was in luck.  This is only the second time I have found vegetarian onion soup.  It was heavenly!
My aunt had a tuna salad.
Oh, and then there was the matter of dessert.  We picked up a mini apple pie and a chocolate cake.  YUM!
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It was a great Mother’s Day in Israel! (I know, don’t say it, we went to the museum on Mother’s Day, but it just worked out that way.  Oh well!)

QUESTIONS:  How was your Mother’s Day?  How did you celebrate?  Have you ever been to a Holocaust Museum?


Beth said...

This looks amazing! Although I'm not that religious anymore, I would still like to go to Jerusalem.

I've been to the Holocaust Museum in DC and to a concentration camp in the Czech Republic.

Unknown said...

EEEE! Love the spices, Love the watermelon juice, love the falafel, LOVE your dress!! I have been to the holocaust museum in DC where I set off the metal detector with my altiods :) some things you just don't forget! LOL! I have also been to the one in Israel. we do a big brunch 4 all the moms over @ my sister in laws for mothers day. she makes most of the food but we made baba ghanoush, chocolate chip banana bread and a fritatta:

Gina; The Candid RD said...

Such an amazing culture. Thanks for sharing your pictures with us! And boy does that falafel sandwich look GOOOOOD. I haven't had falafel in way too long.
Glad you have a nice Mother's Day/Memorial Day :) I spent my Mother's Day at work. When I'm a mother myself, I think I'll take that day off.

Special K said...

The most stunning shot? You and your grandfather. Our current modern day rush has robbed us from the awe of recognizing our roots, and connecting in the hushed moments of breaking a place, where we all began.
Thank you for sharing, friend

Astra Libris said...

Love the photo of you and your Grandfather at the kotel!!! I went to yad vashem on my last trip to Israel, and I was also especially moved by the children's memorial... Thank you for sharing your journey and bringing back such wonderful memories for me! :-)

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