Intriguing Photos from Touring Old Jaffa, Historic Home of Simon the Tanner

our view, walking to Jaffa

For me, touring Israel was all about the history. I wanted to EXPERIENCE the Bible lands. Historic sites, ground that Jesus walked on, that was what we were after.

So on day 1, we crashed with jet lag and didn’t leave our hotel.

On day 2, we rushed off to Jerusalem, as fast as our tour bus could take us.

On day 3, Alan was working, and Julie and I were feeling out our surroundings, so we walked all over Tel Aviv, to see what we could find interesting. Day 3 was exhausting, and sweaty, extremely sweaty.

This whole trip was so sweaty, I needed 14 changes of clothes. I actually had to find a local store and buy more underwear because silly me, I’d anticipated 1 pair a day, not two.

Day 4 brought the excitement.

Day 4 was one of the highlights of the trip. For day 4, Julie and I were on a mission. Jaffa, also called Yafo, also referred to in the Bible as Joppa, is exactly 3 miles from Tel Aviv. You could see it from our hotel, and we decided to just walk there.

There’s a beach walk that connects Tel Aviv to Jaffa, so you couldn’t ask for a more pleasant walk…..well, unless it had been a shaded beach walk, but that’s a rare find indeed.

So off we went, down the beach to see Old Jaffa. Jaffa is where Jonah went to run from the Lord, sailing to Tarshish. Jaffa was also the home of the famous Simon the Tanner. I’ll tell you more about ol’ Simon in a minute here.

port of Jaffa

The port of Jaffa was also where Solomon shipped in the cedars of Lebanon, and after World War II, this port was where vast numbers of Jews arrived to return to the Promised Land.

It’s one of the most historic cities there is! And, according to archaeologists, Jaffa has been constantly inhabited since about 1900 BC, and perhaps even longer. (source 1)

view of Jaffa from the beach, by the port

This area is currently run by Arab Christians, according to locals, but just like the rest of Israel, it has fallen under many different countries’ rule over the year, to include the Turks.

Yafo/Jaffa is diverse.

I definitely saw more Muslim people in Yafo than I did in Tel Aviv.

There were loud prayer calls and women in full Islamic garb. That was the first time I had ever been walking around and suddenly heard the loud sounds of the Muslim call to prayer.

These are sounds my husband is extremely accustomed to, considering all of his time in the Middle East, but it was a new experience for me!

This plaque is on one of the Old Jaffa buildings.

Armenian Convent of St. Nicholas

I thought these blue doors and vents looked pretty against the sand color bricks.

 

More of these beautiful plants. Is it bougainvillea? Please let me know in the comments if you know what this plant is called! I loved it.

You go up these stairs, and you are suddenly in an extremely unique, ancient place. Even the ground is brick. If you ever go to Israel, be sure to see Old Jaffa!

This is the way to Simon the Tanner’s house! Up the stairs into Old Jaffa, and then keep turning corners and getting lost until you stumble upon it. Follow the light house.

 

view of Old Jaffa

We glanced at the map the first time around, not knowing what to look for.

After walking through Old Jaffa and not finding Simon the Tanner’s house, we decided to try again. The SECOND time around, we studied the map as hard as our eyeballs could stare, and then made another go of it.

beautiful Jaffa

It felt Medieval-ish to me. I don’t know how old it was. We missed the guided tour, so we were on our own.

 

Searching, searching, where is that Simon the Tanner’s house???

I bet Cornelius’s messenger in the Bible didn’t have this much trouble finding it…

By the 2nd time around, we knew if we could just find THIS lighthouse, we could find ol’ Simon’s house.

We got in a ton of steps and stair-climbs that day.

So all of a sudden, when we least expected it, we realized we were standing right in front of it!!! Ha!

Simon the Tanner’s house!

Want to know who Simon the Tanner is?

Well, after Jesus died and rose again and ascended to Heaven, the disciples kept up their work.

They were still going around teaching and preaching the good news of Jesus: Jesus died to pay the price for our sin. No need to make animal sacrifices. Instead of a Messiah to come, we now have faith in a Messiah that IS.

However, the disciples were only teaching this method to Jewish people, not Gentiles.

It was time for a change.

First of all, Peter was staying at the home of a tanner. That was considered an unclean trade (source 2), which fits this story perfectly.

As a Jew, there were many foods that were unclean, and Gentiles were unclean. Therefore, when Peter had a vision of a blanket of unclean food, with God telling him to eat it, he was perplexed.

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour[b] to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.

 

 

 

12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.   Acts 10:9-16

While Peter was still pondering the dream, a man came to fetch him to come tell Cornelius, a Gentile, who loved God, about Jesus, in the town of Caesesarea.

By the way, Israelites do NOT pronounce Caesarea the same way we do. Over there the C makes the k sound in that word, so it was confusing!

So Peter went to Cornelius’s house in Caesarea, and this is a snippet of what the Bible says about the meaning of the dream he’d had at Simon the Tanner’s house:

Tour of Jaffa in Pictures

 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”    Acts 10: 28-29

That’s when Peter learns that Cornelius worships the Lord, along with his family, and God has sent Peter to tell this man and his family the gospel:

30 And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour,[d] and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.

 

 

32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”     Acts 10:30-33

For the full story, read Acts 10.

Ok. Now that we’ve had our one Bible lesson, let’s see a few more photos to round out the visit.

A tomb, maybe?

This used to be a government building. Only this front remains. The back was bombed out by one of their wars.

another view of the bombed out government building

whale fountain in Old Jaffa—perfect for the Jonah and the whale story

just an interesting building in the more modern part of the city

a church

I just liked the architecture.

Old Jaffa (beyond the parking lot)

view of Yafo

Jaffa

We found this at the port. I had never heard this story. Have you?

Hope you enjoyed the tour!! Want to see more? Here are a few more of my previous Israel tours:

Jerusalem: Mount of Olives and the Last Supper

Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa

Where Christ was Crucified

Tel Aviv 

Modern Tel Aviv

 

 

Sources:

  1.  The Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project website, Historical Overview, jaffa.nelc.ucla.edu/site.html#overview
  2. Acts 9:3 Peter and Simon the Tanner, readingacts.com,
  3. Acts 10, Bible Gateway Online, English Standard Version

 

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

White House made of Lego bricks, Legoland, California

Happy 4th of July, friends!

There’s this one DIY/home decorating blog that I love, even though this blogger’s home looks the polar opposite of mine. Seriously. She has 4 kids, and yet she decorates in white.

And yet it looks beautiful. Her blog is Tidbits-Cam.com,  and if you want to be inspired by photos of sheer beauty (who doesn’t?), give her a visit.

Today on her blog, she is showcasing inspiring patriotic images, and I liked it so much I decided to do my own version of that post.

So I give you 25 photos of America the Beautiful.

Since we’ve lived all over the U.S. of A., we have seen first hand just how gorgeous our country is, and I wanted to share that here today.

All photos are my own, except for a few that Aunt Janet provided.

 

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Lego Mount Rushmore, Legoland, California

Go ahead and get that song in your head. “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountains majesties…”

 

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

near Yosemite, California

 

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Half Dome, Yosemite, California

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Yosemite, California

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

a day at the ballpark

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

White House, 2012

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Alabama

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Sea to shining sea…I don’t actually remember which ocean this is.

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Look closely. Many of those rocks are actually sea lions laying on rocks. Monterey Bay, California

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Alexandria, Virginia

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Alexandria, Virginia

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

One of my all time favorites. Not only was he making snow angels, but you can see all the places he’d already walked, just like the way the Family Circus comics show foot-paths traveled by Billy. So cute!

Climbing trees are a bonafide part of childhood.

Poppies!

Carmel Valley, California, photo by Janet

Carmel Valley, California, photo by Janet

Monterey, California, photo by Janet

youth, photo by Amy Driscoll

on the road again

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Cliff Dwellers, Colorado

Disney World, Florida

Alabama

Billy Graham’s “The Cove” in North Carolina, photo credit The Cove

I count it one of my greatest blessing to have lived in so many different parts of this country. It truly is America, the beautiful.

Happy 4th of July to you all!

 

Shopping and Shedding Pounds in Tel Aviv

My fit friend Julie. It was like Israel boot camp, but I could not have asked for a better person to tour with.

When I talked to Julie the week before our big trip, she mentioned that she enjoys walking, and she hoped to walk everywhere in Tel Aviv.

“Perfect, I love walking!” I said.

But then, as I got to know Julie better, I began to realize we weren’t exactly on the same level with the physical fitness. Yeah, she walks, and she runs, and she exercises.

She’s what we call fit. Super fit. I’m what we call….not fit.

My gut closely resembles this Israeli statue…

 

He’s cute, isn’t he?

I could not have found a better person than Julie to tour Tel Aviv with. We were already acquainted well enough that I felt comfortable with her, and yet we were new enough of friends that there was no arguing. Ha!!!

Besides, Julie is awesome. She is laid back, intelligent, sensible, down to earth, and an excellent conversationalist, which is perfect because I often have a super hard time thinking of what to say. She also was better than me with figuring out where we were and how to get where we were going, which is important in a foreign country!

Go ahead and laugh. You know I have no sense of direction. And maybe you THINK I talk a lot, but inside I’m working hard to think of all those words.

This is the street in Tel Aviv that runs along the beach.

Tel Aviv Boot Camp

We had a routine that worked well. Breakfast and supper were free at our hotel, so that was what we ate. We had a late breakfast, skipped lunch, and then there was 4:00 tea time at our hotel, with snacks. Then there was dinner at 6pm.

So yeah, we just skipped lunch everyday. We didn’t save any calories though. They fed us so well at the hotel, we weren’t even hungry at lunch.

 

Tel Aviv Beach

Alan and I did a little walking on the beach together too.

The Shopping

You know I’m thrifty, and Julie is too. I’m so easily influenced by who I’m hanging out with! I didn’t buy all that much, but we did walk around tons of shops and markets.

We went into Israel expecting to barter for everything. People had told us we would need to barter, and yet, that was not what we found. Maybe it’s just different in Tel Aviv, but most everywhere we went the shop owners and workers said, “No, we don’t do that here. It’s just one price.”

I bought these Coca-Cola in Hebrew shirts for my 2 biggest boys.

I scored this entire outfit at the Shuk for only $100 shekels…That’s like $35!!

Funny story:

First of all, several different people asked Julie and me if we were from Germany. ???!!?? Germany? No! America!

I found that odd, kind of funny, but also sad, considering Israel’s history with Germany.

But the funny story was the sales guy we met at the Shuk, where I bought that exercise outfit.

He was an unusually friendly young Jewish man, probably around 24 years old, a cute, small guy. What I didn’t realize at first was that he actually lives in Miami, but he was in town for an event and helping his dad in their store that day.

“Where are you from?” he asked us, after explaining the day’s sales to us.

Each time people asked, I found myself not knowing what to call our country. Isn’t that hilarious? United States of America is sort of a mouthful. So sometimes I said America, and sometimes I called it the U.S. or the United States.

That was not a sufficient answer for anyone that asked. Every single questioner actually wanted to know what state we were from.

I move every 2 to 3 years, so my new policy is to be from wherever I currently live.

This particular sales guy laughed when I said “America,” and said, “Well, yeah, I know, I mean I didn’t think you were from Germany!”

Julie and I looked at each other, mystified. Well, the rest of the country seems to think we are from Germany, and even this guy referenced it, so clearly their history left scars.

But he knew we lived in the States because he’s been living in the U.S. himself for several years.

 

We bought this from an arts and crafts fair in downtown Tel Aviv.

So we explained to the sales guy where we were from. He said to Julie, “You look like a runner!” Then they talked about running and swimming…Funny…no one ever asked me what sport I participate in……hahahahaha…

I was shopping for a cute exercise outfit, so I picked up Larges, but I’m usually borderline on sizes, so I was glancing around for a fitting room.

“Oh, you don’t need a large!” this sales guy had all the answers…”This stretches, see? You need a medium.”

Flattering, but I actually didn’t even need to try on the pants. I’m 5 foot 6 with enough hips for all 3 of us standing there. I require the large, and I’m thankful I didn’t take his advice.

Shirts are a different story. I have to try on every shirt I buy.

There I was, in a foreign country, trying on a shirt, in a storage closet, in an outdoor market area (The closet had walls. The store did not.), with Julie standing guard in the OPEN doorway, with the super talkative young sales guy, waiting outside the closet. He was waiting to “snap a photo (of me) and put it on Facebook.”

Laugh. Out. Loud. “Yeah, you are not putting this on Facebook.”

I was in such a hurry to be done with the process that I bought the shirt, without being sure if it fit well or not because I didn’t want to look in the mirror long enough for him to get a Facebook photo.

Why do I care about him taking my picture? I’m a blogger for crying out loud. Yeah, well, I’m a vain blogger who carefully crops out all chubby bits before posting pictures online, and me in a spandex work-out tank? No way was I putting that out there.

That sales guy was hilarious. He talked to us all the way out of the store, as we left, and invited us to come back and see him tomorrow.

I never did make it to the Dead Sea, but I did buy this soap at the craft fair, which was made from Dead Sea Mud.

Gotta love mud.

This was another character that we met.

 

Okay. Sorry it’s all mirror-backwards, but look how hard it is to read a receipt in Hebrew and shekels!!! If it weren’t for the numbers, we wouldn’t even know it was backwards.

That receipt was from a group dinner. Don’t worry. We didn’t spend anywhere near that much.

 

Ah! I can’t wait to go back someday.

 

P.S. I lost 3 pounds.

 

At the Dizengoff Center, a shopping mall exactly like you’d find in America, I found MY store. Yep. April is a cosmetics store.

Julie and I averaged about 9 miles a day, over 20,000 steps. We were sweat-soaked each day when we made it back to our hotel room. If you go for a week, you need to pack like 14 outfits.

By the time the trip was over, I had definitely built up my endurance. I’ve been sure to get in at LEAST 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise everyday since we got back, so this trip was a grand success, in more ways than one!

Be sure to check out my last post on Tel Aviv to learn more about this bustling city!

 

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