Comments from Recent Visitors

"Madeleine gave us an objective view of the people and places we see on the news."

"She is no nonsense, easy to work with, and very flexible. I recommend her highly."

"Madeleine kept our children, 10, 13, 15 yrs interested and engaged (as only a former teacher can), and her depth of knowledge was welcome by the adults in the group."

"We were a diverse group - different ages, religions, athletic abilities - and Madeleine managed to accommodate us all."

"Madeleine gracefully navigated complex issues of faith and culture and we came away with a much better perspective of Jerusalem through 3,000 years of history"

"Madeleine has a talent for listening to what we're interested in and crafting an itinerary that when experienced, flows perfectly while she is open to being flexible and the serendipity of discovery"

"Madeleine was incredible - a huge wealth of information, extremely professional and a wonderful sense of humour"







Saturday, June 23, 2012

Amazing 2000 Year Old Olive Tree

After a recent tour of Beit Guvrin with Margie and Harvey Willensky, I was asked by Margie to help her in her pursuit of photographing interesting trees in Israel. One of them was an ancient olive tree hidden away in the grounds of the Beit Jamal Monastery down the road on the way to Beit Shemesh.

We entered the compound only to be told that the monk with the key to the garden was resting. We were extremely disappointed but, not to be put off, I asked one of the staff if he knew about the tree. He immediately took out a key, walked us to the garden gate, and pointed in the general direction of the tree which, he said, had been tested by Italian experts and dated to over 2000 years.

After wandering for about 100 yards along a dry and thorny trail we came upon an amazing site: our 2000 year old olive tree!


As we approached we started to realise how large the tree really was.


At over 8 meters (25 feet) in circumference, this tree was truly a magical thing to behold and we knew we were in the presence of something very special.


An intricate network of roots snaked their way down the tree and we were embraced in it's long arms.



We spent half an hour enchanted by this magnificent tree - a truly spiritual experience

Photos courtesy of Margie Willensky