One of the really cool parts about studying in Israel this year is the closeness to history. One of my classes this semester is about Biblical History and the hidden component to this class are the field trips. Since the last time I blogged (I know it's been a while) we have had two siyyurim (field trips). The first one with this class was to visit the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to look at their archeology section of the museum.
The brand new museum was incredible and I can't wait to go back, because apparently it has some really cool modern art. Instead of just checking out what was on display, we were also directed to look at what message they were trying to show us. It is very clear that the Israel Museum wanted us to focus on the development of the Canaanite culture that existed in this land and then the "revelation" that came with the Israelites.
The museum also tries to outline the development of culture to show that the Israelites were the next rational step in the development of society. Although I don't know enough to make a fully informed decision about this yet, this is an interesting message they are delivering.
The message is very different from that one that is delivered at the museum we visited just outside Tel Aviv. The Haaretz Yisrael Museum on Tel Qasile tries to show us what life could have been like in the area during a time contemporaneous with the Philistines. There are ruins of a "temple" and a large gallery of pottery and other finds from the site. This museum wants to show the interaction between cultures in the area. When we walked away from this museum, the thought is not that all of civilization leads to the Israelites, but the Israelite group coexisted with other people in the area. Very interesting field trips.
Then there is the class that is very siyyur based. In Israel Seminar we have gone to Tel Aviv to tour the "New Jewish CIty". It was an interesting perspective to walk around the city with a tour guide to see the layout and the way the city was built. I didn't know it at the time, but we had coffee at an historic coffee shop, Tamar. Apparently this was an icon of Tel Aviv and not to mention served some incredible espresso. I was all ready to taint it with sugar and milk until I sipped it. Perfect!
Our second siyyur was around the neighborhood Rehavia. A very upscale, flourishing neighborhood during the British Mandate Period. I don't live very far from Rehavia and it was awesome to hear some of the history that happened literally 10 minutes from my front door.
I can't stay up too late to write much more, we leave tomorrow for Tiyyul. We're going up north and I don't know exactly where were headed, but I know we will be staying next to the Kinnerit. I'm really excited. We actually get a full weekend (Saturday and Sunday) this week. So I will get some pictures and blogs up about what's been going on here. Now that we're in the meat 'n p'taters of the school year, I'm realizing there is no way that I can keep up with the almost daily updates.