Israel Pages: Bethlehem Sunday

Sunday in Bethlehem

in an authentic shepherd's cave - table came a bit later
in an authentic shepherd's cave - table came a bit later

We started Sunday by going to Bethlehem, a scant 6 km. from Jerusalem, but a world away.  Bethlehem is now part of the West bank, a Palestinian territory.  We had to cross through that infamous, enormous cement wall to get inside.

Shepherds field

we went into one of many caves used by shepherds as sheep-folds in the time of Jesus

The Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Mary: 22nd anniversary of ordination: Lutheran Palestinian church, Bethlehem
Mary: 22nd anniversary of ordination: Lutheran Palestinian church, Bethlehem

We worshiped with Arabic Christians (I hope you take some time with that phrase and let it sink in: Christians who are Arabs) who worship in Arabic.  The Lutheran church in Bethlehem was built in the 19th century, neo-gothic design.  There, we celebrated the 22nd anniversary of one of the pastors on our pilgrimage, Mary.

Dheisheh Refugee Camp

After lunch we visited the Dheisheh Palestinian refugee camp which is a dense warren of overcrowded streets originally built as temporary emergency housing to the thousands of Palestinians who had to flee as the Israeli’s took control in 1948.  There has been no solution since that time.  This is not a pretty picture.  I put a link in this subtitle to the Wikipedia page that has the basic information about this camp.  The UN site also has more.

Dheisheh Palestinian refugee camp, West bank
Dheisheh Palestinian refugee camp, West bank
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