Mount of Olives panorama

Mount of Olives panorama
A panoramic view of the Mount of Olives

Monday, February 13, 2012

Neot Qedumim

Neot Qedumim, which means something like "Beauties of Ancient Times" or perhaps "Beauties of the Ages," is a "biblical park and nature reserve" located midway between Jerusalem and Modi'in, the home town of the Maccabees.  We take our students there so that they can see the different kinds of plants and animals that are mentioned in the Bible to get a better feel for both the text we are studying and the land where we are living.  As the highlights video shows, whether it is herding goats and sheep, grinding our own hyssop, or making our own pita and roasted grain for lunch, the park gives real hands-on contact with what we read about so often in the Bible.

See the brief Wikipedia article, the park's own website, and the pictures I posted when we took the students there last September.  Comparing the pictures then with those posted below will illustrate what a difference the rainy winter season makes in this part of the world.

Gathering to hear from our guide about biblical flora and fauna

This green field was completely brown and barren when we were here in September

A red anemone, one of the countless blossoms in the fields

Almond trees are the first to blossom each year in Israel and Palestine

Sheep and goat mixed in a field

Our students trying to herd them!

Sometimes with more success than others

Drawing water from a cistern

The mosaic from the floor of a small Byzantine pilgrimage chapel

Grinding hyssop

Once again, it is amazing how different the landscape looks in February than in October

Making our own pita dough

frying qeli or parched grain
And cooking the pita
Red anemone and yellow wild flowers adorn the green field

Abe playing the role of Zachaeus in a sycamore tree
A small millstone

A flowering almond tree

Taking a break with an obstacle course

A Torah scribe demonstrating how kosher ink is made and used

Both classes in the area at Neot Qedummim

Jared, Steve, and I pressed into service during the Torah reading

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