a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Israel in Pictures

Posted on: November 27, 2011

 The Three Quarters; Christian, Jewish and Muslim were always buzzing with activity.  Out of the three, I spent a lot of time in the Muslim Quarter comparing the similarities between Jewish and Muslim culture.  This woman walked in front of my camera.   I was trying to take a photo of the arch and the Arabic writing, which is why it’s off-center, but I love what I was able to capture instead.

A lot of young boys become Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall.  When the group went, I was fortunate enough to capture images and videos of these two becoming Bar Mitzvah.  I have several photos from all angles and even joined with the singing when the rabbi declared them men.  This photo of their female family members and friends looking over the wall is my favorite.

I wore these sandals all over Israel.  From the Negev Dessert (pictured here), to the Dead Sea, to the deep depths of the Western Wall tunnels and through the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

When you’re in the desert, you ride a camel.

Perhaps it was just the time we spent in Jerusalem, but the sky was always magic.  It’s so steel-grey in this photo, but in the upper right corner a bit of clear-blue.  It changed rapidly, but the backdrop was always-magic.

Walking around this excavation was surreal.  I’ve never been to Rome or Greece, so this Roman-period civilization in the middle of Israel was nothing short than awesome.  The columns, statues, and structures from the 5th Century BCE are magnificent.  I took dozens of pictures here.

The Western Wall was like my conversion ceremony.  I approached it on my first day in Israel as a tourist.  When we returned as a group I went to it with a quarter of the trip behind me.  I don’t specifically remember what I wrote on my note. (I meant to take a picture) I didn’t ask for anything, rather thanked God for everything.  I found an English copy of the Psalms read at the Western Wall and found myself crying, unexpectedly.  Our guide reminded us that the entire world prays in the direction of the Wall (more accurately in the direction of the Holy of Holies).  He asked us to imagine all of that energy surrounding us.  It was powerful.

I took over 500 photos when I was in Israel.  Throughout the rest of November and into the first few weeks of December I will continue to share what I saw, thought, and tasted while in Israel.

For more insight and reflection, be sure to read my blogger turned real-life friend, Michael on Almost Jewish.

©Erika K. Davis

2 Responses to "Israel in Pictures"

[…] discomfort” and “lean into discomfort” a lot since returning from the big ole Gay Trip To Israel.  We used it a lot, but it’s also used in a lot of progressive and queer spaces.  It […]

[…] few months later I found myself getting off of a plane in Israel. I looked around Ben Gurion airport, it looked the same as any other airport, but then I noticed a […]

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