NY Mysteries January 24, 2020

BongJoon-ho’s Parasite is a Korean movie that is very witty and very violent. Its sly humor, bloody violence  and social satire work.  The rich family could have been transported from Westchester. The U. S. influence is shown through the mansion of the rich couple, including a teepee ordered from the U. S. The other family lives in dire poverty. They eke out a living folding pizza boxes and stealing wifi from a nearby store until one of them lands a tutoring job with the rich family. In rapid succession members of the poor family replace the housekeeper and driver of the rich. The poor teenage daughter, a budding con artist, pretends to be a psychologist  and lands a well paying job analyzing the rich family’s young son who keeps spilling the beans about the poor (They all smell alike.) but no one listens. It’s a real movie.

Jim Lehrer died on Thursday. He was the Public Broadcasting Service anchor for many years and was respected for his thorough and fair analysis. 

Jim Lehrer’s Rules

  • Do nothing I cannot defend.
  • Cover, write and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.
  • Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.
  • Assume the viewer is as smart and caring and good a person as I am.
  • Assume the same about all people on whom I report.
  • Assume personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise.
  • Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories and clearly label everything
  • Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions. No one should be allowed to attack another anonymously.
  • “I am not in the entertainment business.”

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a Windsor School teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who  accuses her of lying? Her father who’s fled to Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner was stabbed. He feels remorse over screwing up an important case. His corrupt boss is a trustee of the Windsor School. His girlfriend married his boss. And his daughter quit college. 

NY Mysteries January 18, 2020

 

 It’s been a busy week. First of all, I’ll mention two events I didn’t attend. Both were held at Judson and both had large crowds. Wrestling with Zionism explored the treatment of the Palestinians. I attended Mystery Writers of America to thank the outgoing president, Jeff Markowitz, for his involvement and enthusiasm and to welcome the new president, Erica Obey.

The second event honored Jean Montevil. A friend gave me permission to quote his Facebook account of the event: At Judson Memorial Church marking the second anniversary that Jean Montrevil, our friend, father of four, and advocate to so many, was swept off the street by ICE and deported. We joined his kids today to launch the “Bring Jean Home’ campaign to right this wrong! Join us!judson.org

https://theintercept.com/…/jean-montrevil-deportation-firs…

 

 

 

 

 

Bring Jean Home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A friend and I attended a Frick concert given by Paul Galbraith, the acclaimed guitarist and Antonio Meneses, the acclaimed cellist. They mesmerized us with Bach, Schubert, and various compositions written for the two musicians. 

Rakuko Naito and Tadaaki Kuwayama had an opening reception at Christie’s on January 14. It was glamorous, uber Manhattan spiked with champagne and lots of attitude. I’ve admired Rakuko’s intricate paper work for years

Studio Visit: Tadaaki Kuwayama and Rakuko Naito

Rakuko Naito

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tadaaki Kuwayama

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a Windsor School teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who  accuses her of lying? Her father who’s fled to Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner was stabbed. He feels remorse over screwing up an important case. His corrupt boss is a trustee of the Windsor School. His girlfriend married his boss. And his daughter quit college. 

NY Mysteries January 11, 2020

 

The Mystery Writers of America (MWA) had its first 2020 meeting on Wednesday.  Help Chart MWA-NY’s Future!  was one of the themes of the evening. The other theme was to thank Jeff Markowitz, the outgoing chapter president and to welcome our new president, Erica Obey. MWA is filled with different writing events: reading aloud, being mentored, mentoring, speaking on library panels, selling books. Jeff was always accessible whether it was a problem with the website or trying to find another member. He attended most events and was always upbeat and supportive. Many thanks, Jeff. 

Last Monday I went to the Frick to attend Recommendations for Active Shooter Incidents. Officer Stephen Gibbons gave a detailed description of what makes up an active shooter. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines this person as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.”

The part of this description that fascinated me was confined area. Of course. Don’t most of us live in or near cities? Officer Gibbons gave examples of preferred locations: malls, plants, nail and hair salons, movie theaters, schools, places of worship. The officer’s advice, if involved in one of these incidents and if it’s possible, is to leave immediately and call 911. If there’s a barricade, locate an area with ballistic cover not just visual concealment. If there’s confrontation, use improvised weapons and work as a group. Since I write crime novels this was a field day for me. Even so, it was chilling to learn how active shooters will continue to shoot until stopped. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a Windsor School teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who  accuses her of lying? Her father who’s fled to Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner was stabbed. He feels remorse over screwing up an important case. His corrupt boss is a trustee of the Windsor School. His girlfriend married his boss. And his daughter quit college. 

NY Mysteries January 3, 2020

 

On Sundays a friend and I  often have breakfast at Caffe Reggio. Afterwards she goes dancing. This is at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Who isn’t curious about dancing at 10 a.m.  So I joined her.  We went to a building across the street from the Jefferson Market Library.  Yoga was on the second floor. We attended 5Rhythms Sweat Your Prayers on the fifth floor. After paying $20 each we entered a floor through room with windows overlooking Sixth Avenue. I’m guessing there were about 250 people, a cultural mix ranging in age from 20 to 80. Everyone did his, her, them thing.   Rules: bare feet or ballet slippers, no talking. Armed with a towel and a water bottle parked on a window ledge, I joined in. The recorded music gets faster and the dancing is livelier until it reaches a crescendo. It then slows down and repeats itself. People swooped, jumped, ran, around the room.  I lasted an hour and a half. It was fun and it was exercise.

Later in the week we met at Guitanos on Christopher for a drink and a few laughs. It’s cosy and dark. In a few months It’s  moving way down the block to Charleston Street. I hope it maintains its atmosphere. The music is mid-twentieth century big band, Satchmo, Sinatra. The food is Italian American and is tasty in a down home way. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guitanos: post Christmas
Guitanos: post Christmas

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a Windsor School teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who  accuses her of lying? Her father who’s fled to Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner was stabbed. He feels remorse over screwing up an important case. His corrupt boss is a trustee of the Windsor School. His girlfriend married his boss. And his daughter quit college. 

NY Mysteries Dec. 27, 2019

 

The Stone Soup tradition at Judson. 

I was in a baa humbug mood. Not Stone Soup I whined to myself. Thanks to a hard working and well organized  team Judson’s 2019 Stone Soup was fun. Three enormous cauldrons  filled with vegetarian, chili or chicken soup were offered. In addition there were various breads, crackers, drinks. I helped dish out the food and had a ball watching people light up at the thought of a good, hot bowl of soup.

There was another tradition: a table with craft materials:  bits and pieces of yarn, ribbon etc. for children to make holiday cards and a section for people to write a Christmas card to a Judson parishioner who lives in a bed in a westside nursing home. That’s Judson! 

Lots of parties and going hither and yon. Christmas eve and Christmas day celebrations were spent with dear friends.

 I met friends in Harlem at RDV (Rendezvous). A delightful French restaurant with charming decor, lovely wine, great service and delicious food. friends had bronzino, duck and mussels. I had foes gras (Please don’t tell Elizabeth Warren.) It was superb and is about to be outlawed in the U. S. A.  

Happy New Year to all foodies and non-foodies!

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a Windsor School teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who  accuses her of lying? Her father who’s fled to Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner was stabbed. He feels remorse over screwing up an important case. His corrupt boss is a trustee of the Windsor School. His girlfriend married his boss. And his daughter quit college. 

NY Mysteries Dec. 20, 2019

 

 

 

On December 15 we went to the Frick. Hyeyoon Park the violinist and Benjamin Grosvenor the pianist played to a packed and enthusiastic house. Ravel  and Beethoven were the better known composers. The evening begin with a rousing rendition of Karol Szymanowski’s Mythes. The Frick Music Room has a dated and tired grandeur. Its frayed wallpaper is a harbinger of the renovation of the Frick. What will happen to the Music Room?

I’m posting 25 Organizations that Take Care of Caregivers | American Society on Aging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanan Ashrawi is on the right. She has long been one of my heroes. This distinguished Palestinian woman has fought for the rights of her people since 1947.

And for fun: The gadgets that defined the 2010s. The Verge’s top five gadgets are: The Apple iPhone 4; the Amazon Echo; the Apple MacBook Air; the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Tesla. The Selfie Stick takes the 58 spot and everyone’s favorite, the Juicero Press, checks in at 98. (The Verge)

A very happy holiday and splendid 2020 to all! 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a Windsor School teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who  accuses her of lying? Her father who’s fled to Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner was stabbed. He feels remorse over screwing up an important case. His corrupt boss is a trustee of the Windsor School. His girlfriend married his boss. And his daughter quit college. 

NY Mysteries Dec. 14, 2019

Christmas Rappings

Last week I saw the two performances of Al Carmine’s Christmas Rappings. The Judson music director and conductor, Henco Espag, led the chorus and soloists through a thrilling and evocative performance, celebrating the fifty year anniversary of the four gospels musical.  The performers and chorus were in the moment and they were happy to be there. Their passion filled Judson.  I’m going to fill this week’s blog with photos of the event

Judson Memorial Church

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Mark Joseph Perry
Christopher Michael McLamb
Alexandra de Suze
Sarah Nelson Craft
Ryan S. Lowe and Chorus
The Chorus
The Chorus and the Director
Sarah Blaze
Lulu Fogarty
Al Carmines

 

Al Carmine’s I Became a Composer
Music director and conductor, Henco Espag
Lee Guilliatt, Craig Kuehl and members of the chorus
Essie Borden

NY Mysteries Dec. 7, 2019

 

Saturday evening a friend and I attended Maria Irene Fornes’ Fefu and her Friends at Theatre for a New Audience. Positive points: very cooperative theater staff, comfortable seats, actors (eight women) wore delicious wardrobe, great sets. Bad points: the endless, meaningless, fake profound script/ plot. I had been sucked in to going because I’d had a memory of having seen the play in the seventies. The audience became part of the play in Act 2. What was innovative back then was uncomfortable in 2019. We were divided into groups designated by color. We were Purple. At the beginning of the second act we thirty or so Purples trouped to the stage and  gathered around an enclosed glass cell in which a woman was being tortured. The Yellows were in the kitchen, The Greens in the garden. You get the picture. It reminded me of the seven train at rush hour. Very crowded. If you sat on the floor, you made sure you didn’t fall off the stage. That sort of stuff. After twenty minutes of suffering the Purples proceeded to the kitchen, then the garden. The other colors were doing a round robin of their own. Finally, back in my comfy seat for the third act which was long and boring. 

Fefu  and her Friends resolves my decision to avoid the theater.

William Kentridge in Conversation was presented at the Morgan.  The vast Gilder Lehrman Hall had a sizeable audience. The South African artist and director is mounting Berg’s Wozzeck  at the Met. He explained staging and the background of the opera.  

William Kentridge in Conversation

 

Henco Espag, Music Director Extraordinaire

 

 

We went to Film Forum to see an old favorite: Kind Hearts and Coronets. It’s still delicious. Murder has never looked more amusing.

 

Last night I saw the first of two performances of Al Carmine’s Christmas Rappings. The Judson Music director, Henco Espag, led the chorus and soloists through a thrilling and evocative performance, celebrating the fifty year anniversary of the four gospels musical.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a Windsor School teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who  accuses her of lying? Her father who’s fled to Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner was stabbed. He feels remorse over screwing up an important case. His corrupt boss is a trustee of the Windsor School. His girlfriend married his boss. And his daughter quit college. 

NY Mysteries Nov. 30, 2019

 

I saw A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The sets were a combination of realistic, suburban mid-fifties neighborhoods and the Mr. Rogers’ set. They are the best part of the movie. The plot follows the old publishing adage, write what’s been done with something new. In this case the old stuff was the father and son conflict. The new was Mr. Rogers. A young man and his father harbor  feelings of rage and shame over the death of theson’s mother. Mr. Rogers steps in. Surprise! Every problem is solved, including a death scene with the great charactor actor Cris Cooper. I admit Tom Hanks is a good actor but he gives me the creeps.

On Sunday, Judson Memorial  Church was packed with activity. A beautifully planned and delicious Thanksgiving dinner followed the service. I was pitching in by eating a great deal and doing a few minor chores. In the late afternoon a book launch for a beloved and respected long time congregant was scheduled. I had two hours before it began so I went to Dismantling Whiteness. I stepped into an alternate universe. It was a black and white youngish group. The moderator introduced themself with specific pronouns. I was confused so I followed them’s example.

The book launch was for Keen Berger’s Grandmothering. Keen is the grandmother of three children and a long time presense in the New York Democratic party. Name dropping alert!  Her full name is Kathleen Stassen Berger. Keen’s father was Harold Stassen, the governor of Minnesota who also ran for president. 

On Thanksgiving I went to a great party given by a dear friend in Brooklyn who fed and entertained ten guests and still kept her sense of humor.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a Windsor School teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who  accuses her of lying? Her father who’s fled to Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner was stabbed. He feels remorse over screwing up an important case. His corrupt boss is a trustee of the Windsor School. His girlfriend married his boss. And his daughter quit college. 

NY Mysteries.com Nov. 23, 2019

Back to Palestine

 Thirteen months ago I was In Palestine.  Here’s an article I wrote about an eye-opening experience. 

 

I’ve been to Palestine. 

When I read that Martin Randall Travel was offering Palestine, Past & Present, 15-23 October, I decided the time had come to bear witness to this fascinating stew of history, religion and politics. Another incentive was respect for the British approach to history. Our group’s lecturer was Felicity Cobbing, the Curator of the Palestine Exploration Fund, founded in 1865. She has excavated in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, written widely about the Levant and is a superb leader. I asked Felicity about the PEF’s mission. It focuses on history.  It is not political nor philanthropic. Both Felicity Cobbing and Martin Randall Travel have kindly allowed me to use information from the Palestine, Past & Present Itinerary. I took the photos.

Psychologically, I’ve been in Palestine for many years. I’m a religious fanatic, having been raised in Catholicism, joined the Quakers, breezed through the Episcopalians and now am a member of the Judson Memorial Church, adding two more religions to my brag list since Judson is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and with the United Church of Christ. 

After arriving at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, we were introduced to our local Palestinian guide. Our first four days were spent in Bethlehem, about thirty-three miles from Tel Aviv. The Jacir Palace Hotel is enormous. My friend and I walked through the hotel’s vast marble enclosures figuring out where the lobby and dining room were. Was the air fresh because of the lack of cars? The soft early morning light and the endless evening sky were a treat to my New York eyes and ears. From our hotel room window, we could follow the curve of the wall erected by the Israelis to separate themselves from the Palestinians. When completed it will be a total length of 440 miles. This ugly structure was made more glaring by the messages of encouragement on the Palestinian 

side. The English artist, Banksy, has a hotel near the wall, The Walled Off Hotel. We had several breakfasts there. Returning to the Jacir Palace we would pass Palestinian men eking out a living by selling fresh pomegranate or orange juice that they squeezed individually for each customer. Their accounts of their fractured lives was heartbreaking. Why one of the men’s fathers was shot by the Israelis was never explained. Instead, the son was wounded.  

 Photos of The Wall and of The Walled Off Hotel

On the Wall

 

On the Wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first day we went to Herodion, a palace complex built by King Herod, 24-15 BC, to visit the reservoir system, Solomon’s Pools. It’s being excavated by a joint Palestinian/American group. The American group is the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research which has hosted studies in the Levant since 1900.  Herod crops up constantly. From my childhood religious classes, I remember he had been accused of the Massacre of the Innocents, assuming the image of a monster. Monster or not, like so many leaders, he was a great builder. 

There was an afternoon excursion to Mar Saba Monastery, an Eastern Orthodox monastery halfway between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. Women were not allowed entrance. The real surprise came when the men were also forbidden entrance because they were not members of the church. Welcome to Middle East religion. In fairness, one of our group said that visitors would disturb the monastery’s life work. That evening Felicity began a series of talks about Pilgrims and Pilgrimage.

The next day, modestly dressed, we went to Hebron, celebrated for its association with Abraham. At Haram Al-Khalil (Tomb of the Patriarchs) we visited the tombs of Abraham, Issac, Jacob and their wives. Muslims, Jews and Christians all venerate this site. The church within Haram Al-Khalil is now divided between Muslim and Jewish areas. It can be a volatile place but wasn’t the morning we visited. In the afternoon we went to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The grotto within is venerated by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus. The original church was built in 339 A. D. and is the oldest church in the Holy Land.

That evening my friend and I, both weary and stimulated by the day’s events, had a delicious supper surrounded by political art and Victorian lighting in The Walled Off Hotel’s charming lounge. 

 

The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem

Sometimes we would dine as a group in the hotel and sometimes we’d be taken to a Palestinian restaurant. We would be offered delicious and ever present hummus and olives. innova8ion is a restaurant on the top floor of a Bethlehem establishment. It has breathtaking views of the city. Near us, both men and women were smoking, in leisurely fashion, the hookahs.

 

Hurling Flowers in The Walled Off Hotel

 

 

 Day 4 was In Jerusalem. We walked around the Ramparts entering at Jaffa Gate. It was wonderful weather for scampering up and down stairs and staring down at the community: 70 degrees, a blue sky and the city revealing its secluded places. 

Jerusalem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We descended from the Ramparts at the Damascus Gate and went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre has fragments of the original Constantinian church. Today most of the structure is a Crusader Romanesque building. It is one of the most sacred sites in Christendom because, according to tradition, it contains where Jesus was crucified and Jesus’s empty tomb. In addition, within the church are the last four or five Stations of the Cross. To say it’s a major pilgrimage destination is one way of explaining the vast crowds and prostrate people on various sites. Done once. Never again.  

 

 

 

 

 

Worshippers

 

 

 

 

That evening Felicity continued her talk about Pilgrims and Pilgrimage. Fired up by the check points, by the Israeli settlements overlooking Bethlehem and by Palestinian freedom of movement being dependent on the whim of the Israeli government made some of us feel we were on a pilgrimage. 

In the Levant many celebrities are at least two thousand years old. I’ll wager you haven’t thought too much about John the Baptist’s head. However, it’s been a hot topic in religious circles for thousands of years.  King Herod, who built Herodion, had John the Baptist beheaded. Moslems claim his head is in a Syrian mosque. Christians claim it’s in a Roman church. Felicity was told by a church custodian that his church had John Baptist’s head. Felicity pointed out that other religious institutions claimed that honor. The custodian said, “We have the young head.” 

In Roman Catholicism there are three Gods in one God: God the Father, the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ. Don’t ask. I’ve always preferred the Holy Ghost but In the Jerusalem Christian quarter Jesus is king. To wit: hearty Midwesterners with t-shirts that have Jesus printed in bold letters; people sobbing under the stations of the cross; women lying prone on Jesus’s burial site.

We, along with everybody else in the universe, including their motorcycles, walked along the Via Dolorosa to the Ecce Homo Convent where there is a portion of a Hadrian arch. Like King Herod, Hadrian was a great builder. Remember the Pantheon?

Our last stop of the day was at the tranquil 12th Century Church of St. Anne. On our final night in Bethlehem, Felicity gave a talk on the Canaanites to Israelites.

 

Next day we moved to Jericho. On arrival we took the cable car to a 13th-century Greek-Orthodox monastery. Afterwards we had lunch at a Bedouin camp. We sat on soft cushions in a large tent hung with colorful rugs while the men in the camp laid the table and brought in food. We had glimpses of very small children and several pregnant women but were not introduced to them. The lunch was tasty and ample. There were different kinds of chicken, falafel, hummus, pickled vegetables and pomegranates. Nearby was the Bedouins herd of goats. These Bedouin have been informed by the Israeli government that their camp will be shut down.

Afterwards we visited an 8th century Umayyad palace. Umayyad  is a member of a Muslim dynasty that ruled the Islamic world from 660 to 750. The dynasty claimed descent from Umayya, a distant relative of Muhammad. We then went to the lowest site in Jericho, Tell es-Sultan. Over lovely gin and tonics the talk that evening  was a continuation of Canaanites to Israelites. 

In the morning, dressed chastely, we went to Qumran caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered, then on to a Muslim site of pilgrimage, Nebi Musa. The coach took us to a baptismal site on the Jordan River. It reminded me of Judson baptisms in Ivoryton, Ct. Whether in the Jordan River or in the Incarnation Center lake, the wet bodies revealing underwear under their white sheets have an Elmer Gantry quality. 

Baptism

 

 

On Day 7 after taking the coach to the Nablus area, we went to Samaria-Sebastyieh to visit the Samaritans. Their ancient synagogue is still in use. A young woman and a young man explained their religion and its ties to Judaism. The Samaritans follow the first five books of Moses. They also explained that there were about 800 Samaritans, fewer women than men. Ukraine women are brought into their community like war brides to marry the young men. The young man took us to the Teper Nacle, a design of different fruits arranged on a ceiling. There was a feeling of peace. My facile impression was that the Samaritans had carved a niche between the Moslems and the Israelis. In addition to Samaria-Sebastyieh, the Samaritans have a small settlement in Tel Aviv. The young man in the photo is a polyglot. He told us he’d learned his English from watching American cartoons. 

The Samaritans

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 7 we moved to East Jerusalem to stay at the American Colony. It was founded over 100 years ago by Swedes and Americans fleeing the Chicago fire. Today it is a charming hotel in luscious green gardens. Our last day was spent visiting the Temple Mount/ Haram ash-Sharif, the El-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The evening was spent at a dinner given by the Albright Institute. The next day most of us returned to the U. K.

Jerusalem

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