Well, after a few days of missed flights and long layovers, my daughter finally made it safe and sound to Jerusalem. Actually, the BYU Jerusalem Center is on the West Bank on Mt. Scopus. We went with her to her final orientation before leaving. The director of the orientation explained that the center is run by locals, with Church service missionaries helping. There is one church service missionary who is a doctor. He isn't allowed to practice medicine there, but he is allowed to give advice to the students, and help them make arrangements to get good medical care as needed. Two of the courses center around Near Easter studies focusing on Islam, and Near Eastern Studies focusing on Juddaism. The director explained that this is one of the few places there where a Jew and a Muslim work side by side. They each passionately present their side, and the students are left to sort out for themselves the rest.
We have gotten a few emails from her. She lived for two years in China as a child, so has been exposed to different cultures and living conditions. But the one big culture shock for her has been the prayers that are broadcast 5 times a day, starting at 3:30 in the morning. She said it is very loud, and lasts quite awhile. :)
Already she has been able to go on some field trips, and has seen some wonderful things. The students observe the Sabbath on Saturday as does part of the city. The Muslims I believe observe it on Friday, and the Jews on Saturday. But because my daughter's flight group was a day or two late arriving, they were taken out on a tour of the old city on Saturday. In her words,"...went on our tour of the old city. we went down jericho road and then up through the damascus gate. we aren't allowed to enter the gate closest to the center, because it leads to the muslim quarters. he took us on a route through some of the shopping district, and we stopped at the austrian hospice building where you have a pretty good view of the city from the roof, and we also stopped at the church of the holy sepulcre and saw the highest christian patriarch in the city of jerusalem walking through. after the old city we went into the israeli/jewish part outside of the old city. it was completely dead there because it was the sabbath for them. the old city is dead on fridays for the muslims. some other places we went were nebi samwil, or a mosque/building commemorating the prophet samuel's burial place, and we went to about 3 other places where we could look over the old city from different vantage points to understand the geography better." The next email said, "today we went to the israel museum and saw the dead sea scrolls, and went to the bible lands museum, the israeli parliament building, to ben yehuda street, and through the old city again. yesterday we went shopping in the old city, to the church of the holy seplucre, and walked the rampart walk around the top of the old city wall. we tried taking the wall over to dome of the rock, but it was a dead end, so we still have to go back there." (forgive her lack of capitalization :)
The first few weeks are mostly filled with classwork, then the tours begin. I hope she rests up while she can, because the next month and a half is going to be exhausting. It's a good exhausting though. :)