Masada

Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
1
19
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Trip End Oct 25, 2010


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Flag of Israel  ,
Friday, October 8, 2010

Again I wrote this information before leaving and some may fine it interesting.  The but today I got to Masada which is an amazing old Palace and Fortress.   Also got to the Dead Sea to swim today.  What a hoot - very slippery getting in and long sandy walk to the actual sea.  Had to buy shoes and they were good on the sand but in spite of their rubber soles they did not work on the slippery hard salt bottom which is formed in ripples and is almost slimmey. 

 The Dead Sea

 "The Salt Sea") is the lowest place on earth, roughly 1,300 feet (400 meters) below sea level. It is 34 miles (55 km.) long and varies between 11 miles (18 km.) and 2 miles (3 km.) in width. The Sea is 1,400 feet (430 m.) deep. This unique sea is fed by the Jordan River. There is no outflow; and the exceptionally high rate of evaporation (high temperatures, low humidity) produces large quantities of raw chemicals. These are extracted and exported throughout the world for use in medicine, agriculture and industry.The Dead Sea is actually shrinking. The southern end is now fed by a canal maintained by the Dead Sea Works, a company that converts the Sea's raw materials, particularly phosphates, into commercial products.Visitors can float effortlessly on the waters of the Dead Sea due to its concentration of minerals, which is the highest in the world. The air is extremely dry, and temperatures are high throughout the year (max. 86 [30 C]) during winter, and 104 [40 C]) during summer) making the Dead Sea a destination for visitors 365 days a year.Floating is a novelty that makes visiting the Dead Sea a kick, but most visitors come for the therapeutic value of the mud and salt water. People with skin disorders such as psoriasis and ailments such as arthritis have found relief from treatments using the Sea's natural resources. Oh, and if you have an open cut or sore, be forewarned, the salt water stings.Archaeological ruins are scattered in the area. Many historical fugitives, such as DavidJesus, Jewish zealots and Christian monks, found peace and refuge around the Dead Sea. The area is best known, however, for being the site of the biblical towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. South of the Sea, on the way to Eilat, is a rock salt formation that tourists are told is Lot's wife. According to the Torah, Lot's wife ignored G-d's admonition not to look back at the cities he was destroying as they left and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).

 Dead Sea OasisEn Gedi is the largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea.  The springs here have allowed nearly continuous inhabitation of the site since the Chalcolithic period. The area was allotted to the tribe of Judah, and was famous in the time of Solomon (Josh 15:62). Today the Israeli kibbutz of En Gedi sits along the southern bank of the Nahal Arugot.an oasis in the desert and a green garden of Eden in the wilderness. It is situated on the shore of the Dead Sea – the lowest place on Earth - at the feet of majestic mountains and cliffs. 

One of the most exciting places in Israel, Ein Gedi combines a wild, natural setting with a primeval panorama, history and archaeology, tourist attractions, and spas. Its unique climate and atmosphere make it a place for a unique desert adventure.  

Ein Gedi contains the historical and archaeological remains of its first inhabitants, who discovered the magic of the place more than 5,000 years ago it has also served as a landmark in the history of the Jewish people throughout history. David took refuge in Ein Gedi when he was pursued by King Saul, and rebels fled there fromJerusalem. Valuable persimmon oil and rare perfumes were produced there, and temples and synagogues were established here to strengthen the Jewish stronghold in the area. 

Ein Gedi has an international reputation as a health spa. Tourists from all over the world come there to take advantage of the hot springs, mineral waters, and mud baths, and to  enjoy the desert climate, bathe in the healing waters of the Dead Sea, and breathe healthful bromide-filled air.   

Ein Gedi is an ideal place to become familiar with the desert and its hidden wonders. Nature reserves such as Nakhal David and Nakhal Arugot have water flowing through them throughout the year. Rivers run through deep canyons surrounded by lush vegetation – a sharp contrast to the surrounding desert. If you are lucky you will also be able to spot ibexes and other animals that come to the rivers to drink. 

Masada


Masada today is one of the Jewish people's greatest symbols. Israeli soldiers take an oath there: "Masada shall not fall again." Next to Jerusalem, it is the most popular destination of Jewish tourists visiting Israel. As a rabbi, I have even had occasion to conduct five Bar and Bat Mitzvah services there. It is strange that a place known only because 960 Jews committed suicide there in the first century C.E. should become a modern symbol of Jewish survival.What is even stranger is that the Masada episode is not mentioned in the Talmud. Why did the rabbis choose to ignore the courageous stance and tragic fate of the last fighters in the Jewish rebellion against Rome?.  
 






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