I feel bad that my blog about my summer in Israel has so far been 85% posts about Turkey. So I decided to do some posts about the main sights in Israel since I’ve been neglecting them.
One of my favorite sites is the Garden of Gethsemane.
They have a garden area on the side of the Church of All Nations where the olive trees grow. It’s beautiful inside but tourists aren’t allowed to go behind the fence, only our friend Fiz the gardener is able to go back there. We love Fiz. He has been taking care of the garden for 17 years. He told me “My father, he here 42 years before me.” So Gethsemane gardening has been the family business for a long time. Fiz always tells us about all the languages he speaks. Besides Hebrew, Arabic, and English he says, “I speak Spain. I speak France. I speak Italy.” He said to me one Sabbath, “For you, rosaries from the garden, from the olive trees. Next week, ok?” He gave me a rosary necklace with olive wood beads which he claimed were from the garden and it has a little metal case with garden “terra,” which is some red dirt. I’m sure he gives that little gift to a lot of people but it’s the thought that counts.
The Church of All Nations is really beautiful too. There are mosaics under class on the floor from the Byzantine church that was there before this church. We like to sing in the church. There are some really good singers in my group and we always have people come up to us afterward and thank us for singing and the priest loves us. He always lets us sing, week after week. We love to sing Be Still My Soul, I Know That My Redeemer Lives, I Stand All Amazed around the rock that traditionally was near where Jesus suffered.
And there is a fabulous view of the Dome of the Rock from the Garden.