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Histories & Narratives

Today was my day to present on the history of Akko. This is the history upon which I wanted to present, but we were learning about the history of Akko as it fits within the frame of crusaders, Islam, and its ties to Jerusalem. As Justin & I discussed this morning, the history of the underground resistance fighters is interesting, but it’s not necessarily relevant to where we are in the course right now.

This discussion spurred me to think more about which histories are told and which are woven into narratives that are deemed “important.” Prior to this course, the narrative that I held important about Akko was solely about more recent history (ie. 1930-50). Yet today I presented upon a much more ancient history, which many others hold to be remarkably important.

In a land so hotly contested, there must be individuals who hold each of these histories to be the “most important” one, yet both have to be learned and understood in order to move forward with any sort of peace process.

Today was our final day of our trip up north. We spent time in the Golan at Tzippori, Katzrin, Caesarea, and many other sites. We stayed in a youth hostel, which was remarkably nice!!

Some of my favorite highlights:

*Golan sites: As we drove north, we drove past land that has been roped off because it is full of Syrian mines. The mines are still active, and there are so many of them that it is either impossible or impractical (or perhaps both) to de-mine the land – so instead, it’s roped off. We also stopped at a site that Israel claimed in 1967, which the Syrians had previously used to assault Israel. While we were there, we saw anti-tank fortifications and a memorial for Israeli soldiers that fell both in ’67 and in later wars. Katy & I placed rocks upon the memorial – a Jewish custom that signifies respect for the dead – and Katy also straightened the wreath that had been placed upon the site. Stopping at the site was a sobering reminder of the more modern struggles Israel has seen.

*Tzippori: We walked upon roads that were very likely roads that Jesus himself walked! The roads were from an ancient marketplace, and the stones had worn ruts in them from the carts that had traversed them so long ago. Tzippori also had very very very many mosaics. Mosaics, in fact, became the new mikveh (mikvehs are ritual baths, and also something that we’ve seen a lot of on this trip…)

*Katzrin: What I loved most about the museum was that it’s a two-room museum, yet it’s still effective & informational. As a student of museums and also as a museum enthusiast, I was thrilled to see how Katzrin takes advantage of its space, including its courtyards, which function both as display spaces and as storage spaces for pieces that have yet to be catalogued.

*Tsfat: We stopped in Tsfat, where we had lunch & walked around a bit. Tsfat is home to the synagogue dedicated to Rabbi Luria and also home to many artists’ shops. It was a visual feast – there were fabulous paintings, photographs, pieces of jewelery, and more!

*Mediterranean beach time: Today, after three days of intensive study and site visits, we took time to visit the beach! We had a great time in the warm water & sun!

Be sure to check out my flickr page for more highlights & for photos!

Finally, tomorrow (Friday) we say goodbye to Suleiman and hello to Professor Donna Divine. Suleiman, we’ll miss you!!!


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