Blog  A Taste of Israel and EIE

A Taste of Israel and EIE

Nathan F. is a junior from Carrollton, Texas. He is a member of Congregation Kol Ami, a camper at URJ Greene Family Camp, and a participant in NFTY-TOR.
Gezer-4-300x169Recently, all of the EIE students and I went on our first field trip (tiyul) of the semester. The destination was Tel Gezer, an ancient Canaanite city nestled in the foothills of the Judean Mountains. Tel Gezer was inhabited by the Canaanites around 2000 B.C.E., around the same time that the Book of Genesis references Avram, later Abraham, as a nomad. Tel Gezer was an advanced civilization for its respective time period, in between the ancient empires of Mesopotamia and Egypt. After a half hour bus ride (including traffic), we were greeted by a scenic 360-degree view. In the east were the Judean hills, with red flowers splattered throughout the landscape. Horizontally across were the coastal planes of Tel Aviv to the west. Below us were green flat lands and towards the west we could see the major highway. The view was extraordinary and elegantly exposed the true beauty of Israel.

Gezer-1-169x300After we settled down, my group, led by David Alon, was instructed to pick up a piece of ceramic from the pottery decorated path to use as a keepsake for class the next morning. Upon entrance, there was an ancient lookout tower that once was used to defend the city, and to the side of the tower was a gate and further down was a trench. The site displayed the numerous excavations that help to illustrate the time lapse of civilizations that lived there once before. We arrived just in time for the only two months of the year in which the plant life is green and the Kalanit flower (a red flower that people from all around Israel come to see) is in bloom. Next, we were shown a tablet with a mysterious language written on it. At the end of the trip, we were informed that the inscription is actually the earliest recorded adaptation of the Hebrew language.

Gezer-7-169x300A re-occurring discussion we had during the trip were the four essentials, known as the four D’s, that were needed for successful civilizations. These are: Drink, Dinner, Dollars, and Defense. From the visit to the ancient Hebrew tablet and discussing Tel Gezer’s trade routes, we were guided towards a 40-meter-long downward sloping tunnel. This tunnel was the source of the Canaanites’ water.

Afterward, we discussed the Canaanites’ religion of idolatry; their main god Baalim was referred to as “master” and their goddess of fertility was referred to as Astarte. Both gods took human form which meant that the gods have the same desires as humans. The Canaanites would sacrifice flour, olive oil, wine, fruit, and their best meat to their gods to please them. However, this was not enough so Temple prostitutes and child sacrifices were also methods the Canaanites used to appease their gods. The trip concluded at an alter where it was thought that these sacrifices occurred. Tel Gezer was an excellent taste of what Israel has to offer.