Israel 2017–Days 11-15

A cab took us across town to the Prima Park, a less posh but comfortable and well situated location for the rest of our stay.  We celebrated the Sabbath by resting and reflecting upon the intense and varied experiences of the last week.

Sunday morning, feeling free and a little abandoned, we walked on our own to the nearby tram stop, struggled with the ticket machine and rode the three stops to the Mehane Jehuda Market, where we mixed with local residents wandering through the stalls and found a lively restaurant for lunch.  In the afternoon we reconnoitered the path to the Hebrew University, weaving our way through a maze of construction of the new light rail line that would soon be serving it.


Monday morning the conference began with snacks, introductory remarks by the dynamic and sorely tried organizer, Yaakov Mascetti, and a plenary lecture by John Monfasani, former editor of Renaissance Quarterly and protege of Paul Oskar Kristeller, a resident of the Columbia-owned building where we lived from 1967 to 1970.  As they did for the next three days, the plenary lectures were followed by 13 shorter papers on topics that once would have been of professional interest to me, but that I now simply could enjoy for their ingenuity and erudition. Almost all of them involved the kind of primary archival research that I never ventured into.

My presentation was on the afternoon of the second day.  After months of fretting, I felt comfortable and confident while delivering it and had the impression that it was well received, though it generated little discussion.  While most of the papers explored early modern theological issues arising out of disputes between Christians and Jews and among various Christian sects, two of them at least addressed the challenge to faith posed by the rise of modern science. My thesis implying that Shakespeare was coming at the Bible from a  consistent position of unbelief seemed somehow out of place.


That night we were hosted at the beautiful Eucalyptus restaurant located near Jaffa Gate and were addressed by the Chef-Owner whose family had immigrated to Israel from Iraq.


I was surprised and shaken when one of the presenters on the third day quoted two lengthy passages from my book, and in conversation afterward said that it had initiated the later proliferation of studies on its subject.

That day Jan went downtown to the famous Jerusalem YMCA building to attend a Rotary meeting and exchanged flags with the club President.



The speaker was a vigorous 92 year old American who fought the Nazi invasion of France and was seriously wounded. Then he immigrated to British Palestine and joined the underground fighting to establish the nation of Israel.

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