16 And the [rain]bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.'17 And God said unto Noah: 'This is the token of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.' (Gen 9:16-17)
I'm having trouble blogging (and even journaling personally for myself). I don't get much time alone, which isn't so bad when you're surrounded by really amazing people, and my brain seems to be tired taking everything in all the time. But I am having many, many thoughts about this place and so I'll slowly try to organize them for you over the next week or so. Here it goes.
A common misconception about Israel is that it is just this giant desert with people riding camels and bombs going off. This could not be further from the truth! A large part of Israel is the Mediterranean coast, the wild drivers of Israel are oddly reminiscent of the ones in San Francisco, and the only bombs I've seen/heard were across the border in Syria. In school Israel is often visually represented with the classic black and white photos of Ben Gurion decalaring independence or the paratroopers recapturing East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. I of all people love these photos and all they stand for, but I have to say they are hugely inaccurate at representing the reality of Israel.
Israel is not a desert or a black and white photo. Israel is a rainbow! It is a rainbow of street art and the knick knacks for sale around every corner. You'll find everything from kippot (Jewish skull caps) and mezzuzot (traditional Jewish door post hanging) to hats and sunglasses. Israel is the burnt oranges, reds, and siennas of the shuk's (outdoor market) spices and the rocks of the mountains, the pinks and purples and yellows of the flowers, the green of the IDF soldiers strolling the streets and the date palms lining the mountainsides, and the blue of the seas and the waving flags. And of course there are the people; the people come in all kinds of colors. When I ask Israelis how they are all so good looking they say "Because we are all mixed. Russians, Egyptians, Iraqis, Poles, Hungarians– mixed people are the most beautiful". As a fellow racially mixed human being I'd like to agree with this sentiment. (Imagine how beautiful my children would be if they were Israeli!)