Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Not dead yet...

The scrolls themselves are amazing. That anyone could get *anything* out of these fragile, transluscent documents, their edges frayed and eaten away, is astonishing. But when you look at the fragments and how they are arranged between layers of fine silk, you have to admire the tenacity of the reseachers who painstakingly pulled each of the pages apart and found the bits which flaked off.

When we actually got to the building, it was technically closed, so we waited ten minutes inside, and then, when the security guard turned the lights on, we started reading all the informative text in the lobby. Good thing, too, because right behind us came a very British sounding lady who told us that she was the English speaking tour guide, would we like a tour?

Of course we would, and so she spent over an hour with us, explaining things and adding her own perspective in a voice which would have been at home at the Victoria and Albert. As we were parting, I asked her, "How did you end up here?" She replied, |Do you mean at the museum, or in Israel?" "Israel."

"Oh, well, dear," she said. "I came over in 1953. We had our own country, didn't we? Seemed to be the right thing to do."

Funny; I hadn't suspected she was Jewish. She told us that she has a son living in New York, and another in London. "But I've got two more here," she added cheerfully.

It seemed the right thing to do. I loved that.

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