We’re in Bethlehem and it’s Christmas Day. It was a day for us to be a bit lazier in the mornings than normal. It was also a day to catch up with some things and for Sharon to return the car to the Tel Aviv airport before we head to Jordan on Wednesday. But for Micah and I, we spent the afternoon in Jerusalem at the Israel Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls.
This museum opened in 1965. It is a museum in which you could easily spend a full day, but our schedule only allowed for a couple hours. The museum is the largest cultural institution in Israel. It houses archaeological treasures and artwork.
We spent most of our time looking at a very detailed model of Jerusalem that covers almost one acre. It recreates Jerusalem in the Second Temple period of about 66 AD shortly before the destruction of the temple by the Romans.
Dead Sea Scrolls
The Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Israel Museum. The scrolls were found in pots and the roof of the Shrine was designed to symbolize the tops of those pots. The first of the scrolls was found in 1947 and date back more than 2,000 years ago. While different scrolls are on display, the one which was found most in tact was the one that has become known as the Isaiah Scroll. This scroll is the oldest complete copy of the Book of Isaiah. Pictures are not allowed to be taken in this part of the museum, so I’ve included a short clip of one minute to show you the inside of the Shrine of the Book.
Christmas Eve Update
If you remember from yesterday’s blog, it had been raining on Christmas Eve and we were debating about going to Manger Square for the festivities. Well, we all set out for that. The first one to give up was me! Cold and rain is something I don’t do. Sharon and Micah continued on but said there was hardly anyone in the square. The people that were there were standing along the buildings working to shelter themselves from the rain. While it was a disappointment not to be able to be there with a large gathering watching the mass from St. Catherine’s Church, we are very fortunate to be in Bethlehem on Christmas. And except for last evening, the weather has been nice and dry!!