We woke up earlier, but it still took us forever to get out of the house!*
We arrived at Tel Shilo, at noon, and scouted out the terrain.
Basically, there were two "things to do":
1. tour the archeological site
2. enjoy the many crafts projects
My friend**, who runs the show there, recommended we begin with the tour.
The movie "theater," where the tour began, was packed when we arrived (at 12:30). So, we chose to start with lunch. My SIL did not want to miss the next showing, at 1:00, so she and her family stayed by the theater. I figured, my kids would definitely enjoy the tour more with full stomachs. There were three enormous succot set up, so there was plenty of room for all of us (we were there with Jameel, and five of his seven kids).
After lunch, we hurried back, just as the theater was emptying. We were early.... for the 1:30 tour. We snagged front row seats, then took the opportunity to examine the model of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), and take a bunch of pictures.
We viewed two short, and cute, movies. Then, we began the tour....
At our first stop, we met several actors, who introduced us to the site. They were talented, and clever, and successfully enchanted the many children (and adults).
Then our guide led us past an ancient burial site, to two Byzantine churches. At each site, we enjoyed additional performances.
Then we climbed the observation tower, for a panoramic view of the entire area. It is so beautiful there! From the tower, we were also able to view more archeological remains.
We continued to the site where most archeologists agree that the Mishkan stood. It was pretty awesome! (until my oncologist called, and broke the spell!)
We met up with my SIL and her family at the site of the Mishkan.
There were a few more archeological things to see, such as remains from the Caananites, who apparently also used the site for ritual worship.
The kids were very excited, when we arrived at the crafts booths (succot). Even though some of the projects were already finished, there was plenty to do. My son immediately went to grind Ketoret (incense), and my daughters went to weave. (I promise, I had nothing to do with their choices!)
Once the kids were all set up, I went to the "apothecary." I ground Hadas (myrtle) leaves to a pulp (because they were wet, otherwise they would have made a powder). Then I added olive oil. I will let it sit for three weeks, then it can be used to season food. The woman in charge claimed the oil would taste peppery. We shall see....
Others added rosemary to the olive oil, to create an essence for food or massage. At the same booth, the guide made lip balm by melting paraffin (it is best to use bees wax) and adding olive oil, a touch of water, and mint essence (though she was out of the mint essence).
We did not have a chance to try everything, but we all had fun.
The children had a great time!
As we were leaving, we bought some delicious cherry liqueur, which was produced nearby, in Ofra. I knew my mother would enjoy it. (we both love cherries!)
While there, Muse, and another friend from Shiloh, came by to say "hi." It was great to see them!
We also met up with Joe Settler, who was there with his family.
Too soon, the sun was setting, and we had to leave.
For the drive back, all our kids ditched us, to ride with our friends. That gave Moshe and me about 20 minutes to talk about "the call." We agreed that we would, again, put the topic aside, when we arrived at our friends'.
We returned to our hosts, packed up our stuff, and hung out one more time, in their lovely succah. We ended the day with a Bar-B-Q. What could be better than that?
Then, it got better.
After hosting us, and feeding us, for three days, our hostess gave us a care package to take home! Wow.
We all had such a wonderful time.
It was late when we drove home, but everyone was happy, and peaceful.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
* My dad was too sick to join us, and my mom stayed with him, so they could go to the doctor.
** We met in chemo. She also has metastasized breast cancer, and she is in the same bone-drug experiment. The nurses introduced us when I first began treatment, and she was very helpful and supportive. She is AMAZING. She told me that she works at Tel Shilo. Only later did I learn, from mutual friends, that she runs the Hadracha (education) program!