Friday, January 26, 2007


Israel- last post

Whatever your faith, this is how God says "goodnight" in Jerusalem

...lights will guide you home

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


More from Israel

In addition to the spirituality, the warmth of the people, the seriousness of the politics, here are some of the other things I loved about Israel...

1. My new friend Henry refers to the hummus in Israel as "sex in a bowl." He is right. It is one of the best things you will ever taste.

2. Mud from the Dead Sea heals everything. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. It has a salt content so high that it will kill you if you swallow a gulp. However, the mud from the sea floor is magic. I had exczema on part of my left hand for weeks. On Sunday I stuck my left hand into the sea and into the mud. It burned like hell for about five minutes, but since then the exczema has cleared up. My hand is not even red any more. Amazing!

3. You can buy a bag of anything for less than 20 Shekels (about $4.00). Bags of dates, bags of beads, bags of bread, bags of salt, bags of hot jelebi (fried dough-yummm!) get the point.

4. Everything in the arab quarter of the old city in Jerusalem costs 40% less than the price they originally ask you for. I was walking down a tiny street past Station of the Cross III and a man jumped out from an alley way and said to me, "You want car? I have nice car for you American lady, good price." And then a little kid rode by on a bicycle and spit on me (but thats for a different list).

5. Everything is cooked in copious amounts of olive oil (the green kind!)

6. Almost every day they (I dont know who they is) clean away all of the paper prayers and wishes that people place in the cracks and crevices of the Western Wall. They bury the wishes and prayers in holy ground, making room in the wall for more wishes.

7. Hebrew is written from right to left. Why? Because Hebrew is an ancient language and before the days of paper and note pads things needed to be etched and carved in stone. Given that most of the population then and now is right handed it was and is much easier to carve out letters from right to left than the reverse. One holds the carving instrument at an angle in the left hand and bangs a mallet with the right, thus creating letters from right to left.

8. "Fish" means shell fish (shrimp, calamari, etc) "Meat" means other kinds of fish (a.k.a. salmon) and also meat like red meat and poultry.

9. Camels have a punk rock attitude like no other animal

10. When Israelis speak Hebrew they speak like Israelis, when the speak English they speak like New Yorkers.

11. All signs are written in Hebrew and Arabic. Every sign you look at is a fantastical graphic design (for those of us that dont speak Hebrew or Arabic)

12. Tel Aviv clubs and bars play huge amounts of Depeche Mode and the Cure

13. I wanted to get a quickie re-Baptism and my friend now and forever more known as Eli wanted to get a quickie Bar Mitzvah, but sadly Jerusalem is not like Vegas. Probably a good thing in the long run.

more to come.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Xtinefiles in Israel


I'm home. I'm a little sad, I wish I could have stayed longer and I cant wait to go back.

It was a very intense journey. We saw as much as we could. From the night life in Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea, to the Old City in Jerusalem.

Every moment was breath taking. It was a clash of cultures. One moment you are standing on Jewish Holy ground surrounded by the Israeli Army, the next moment you're touching a piece of rock were Jesus was anointed, all while hearing Muslim prayers over loud speakers that echo throughout the city.

I can't fully articulate what it is truly like in Israel. I dont even think words can capture it. There is something magnetic about Jerusalem. The Western Wall vibrates. When you touch it you can feel its pulse. Everywhere I walked, everything I saw, everything I smelled and heard is so vastly different from any other place I have ever been. There is intense security, which is good because in the back of your mind you know how volatile this place is. And its no wonder why there is so much fighting. Everybody wants a piece of it.

On my final day I sat on a slab of rock right outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. I had a long conversation with one of our guides, Adam, a 28 year old Israeli, with an amazing perspective on the world. He said the Hezbollah in Lebanon are re-arming and he expects this summer to be a hard time for the Israelis. Then he said, "I am so glad you got to see this place now...It is the center of the universe and the center of religion and it can get destroyed at any time." That makes me deeply sad.

I'm moved in a way I cant explain and will remain forever changed from this experience.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Xtinefiles Goes to the Middle East

No joke.

In less then a week
Xtinefiles is off to the Holy Land for a bit of work, some self discovery and a whole lot of character building.

Stand by for Updates from Israel.

Peace be with us all.

Happy New Year.

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