Saturday was our first full day in Jerusalem
Since it is the Shabbat, most things are closed – but there was a museum that was opened – and has free entry for kids on Saturday. Since we had 8 kids, this seemed like a good opportunity for us.
Since there are no busses, and few taxies (at least I think – I’m still kind of confused on the whole ‘what still operates on the Sabbath thing’) we decided to walk. Google maps says it should take about 45min. I don’t think they set the pace for small kids running off the trails and playing in trees or carrying kids on your back. They should really have that as an option.
This was one of the things we saw in the Museum that really caught my attention, a little boy dressed up like a soldier complete with assault rifle and combat helmut. It was Purim that weekend (a Jewish holiday that is supposed to celebrate the story of Esther who saved the Jewish people from annihilation under the Persian King ) but like so many of our holidays that remember something – it seems to have strayed a ways from its original intent. There is a tradition of dressing up – which like the Western tradition of dressing up on All Hallow’s Eve that morphed into Halloween costumes – the Purim costumes are pretty disassociated with a Jewish Queen saving her people from genocide 2500 years ago. After being around for a while though, I started to realize that dressing up like a soldier here is no different than dressing up like a police officer or fire-fighter in many other places. It’s a job that kids see everyday, it’s considered a public service, and with every able-bodied Israeli having to serve (3 years for men, 2 for women) it’s not like military service is far from any family. Couple that with the fact that the military present around a city like Jerusalem appear to always be carrying a battle-ready assault rifle, you can see how this could not seem at all strange to a young child here.
By the time we visited the museum and started walking back towards our place we relised that there was not going to be a whole lot more we could do – so we stopped at a play park on the way home.
We wandered back to the Old City and found some supper (OK – by supper I mean ‘the one meal for the day”) at a great place in the Armenian quarter before heading back to the house.
Day 2: success.