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        Unedited Resource Site

                                    Created in 1996 Jasha Salter., M.S.Ed. 

JOEL'S PERSONAL LETTERS

 

To Emma from Beirut, Lebanon, 1954

The Bristol Hotel
December 1, 1954
Beirut, Lebanon

Dear Em,

A thousand times today I exclaimed, "Oh Em, . . " and how much I really meant it. No one should ever have such experiences alone, especially if there is someone to see thru the same eyes. With just a driver, I took a car to Bilylos, 30 miles along the Mediterranean, thru such country as you never dreamed of. Only if you can place yourself back in the land of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, or Jesus, John & Paul, can you picture anything like this. The same mud and stone houses with grape covered patios, the same shepherd huts on the hills, the same sheep; people sitting on their house walls, or on roofs, & eating in patios – and at dusk, women carrying jugs of water, just as Rachel when she met Jacob, or the woman of Samaria with Jesus. I won't touch on the mixture of the modern just on the old that I witnessed. Clothing and costumes varied from the modern today to what they actually wore in the old Hebrew days. The older men wear fez & the older women cover their faces with veils, but the younger generation are as modern as TV ----- The hill, Oh, Em, those hills right by the Mediterranean. Hills just as they were when our old Hebrews walked there. Stone steps – bridges – arches – just as they were. The hills finally got me – as if I were at home on them. Grapes, oranges, lemon, grapefruit, melon – all over the place. And men and women on donkeys!

At Bilylos, a French professor, archeologist, is excavating the oldest continually inhabited town in the world. A village of probably 2000 people – occupying a town that has continually existed since the Stone Age 4000 BC. This town has had inhabitants during the Stone Age, Phoenician, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, & Crusade Ages. Seven civilizations have gone on generation after generation. They have found coins and stones from every age, walls, churches, temples, houses, and even a cannon from 800 years ago! And the village itself is still in ancient times- candle lighted houses & stores – such sights as I cannot describe. . . .Then the drive back just at sun down – and the only equal of it is from the Halekulani Coral Lanai – Em, such a sight over the Mediterranean – with desert hills right there like that stretch between Kailua and Waikiki, only these had the old houses of stone, brick & clay. ~ Tomorrow I go to Damascus and follow Paul – On my return to Cairo will go to Jerusalem – but have to stay overnight so cannot go now. Will take Jerusalem trip before leaving for India. I really don't want to leave here – not for a long time.

Have sent out a lot of cards from here. Will probably find a lot of mail in Cairo. Well, you surely must have felt me today. I wanted to share every ah & oh with you.

Am to full to eat!

And so Aloha, Joel