Thursday, August 6, 2009

Transfiguration, paragliding, and the Pope

A faint buzz in the sky over the valley alerted me to something I had never seen around our village. Two brave souls were paramotoring!
It's paragliding with a motor strapped on your back.

The Israeli paragliders' website is called Ruach Hakodesh, which is Hebrew for both holy wind and holy spirit!
I learned that, thanks to Pope Benedict's decision to celebrate Mass on Mt. Precipice (Har Kedumim) last May, the new road that was paved for him opened up a new paragliding launch site, previously inaccessible. Don't you love how things like that work out?!
Look how we can combine SkyWatch, paragliding, and the Feast of the Transfiguration (which is today). --
Remember the story in Luke 4:16-30? Jesus was preaching in his native Nazareth and (yet again) made the people angry. ". . . All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But passing through the midst of them he went away."
Well, an early tradition names Mt. Precipice as that hill near Nazareth.
And now, on a hill just north of Mount Precipice is the Church of Our Lady of the Fright, which tradition says stands on the spot from which Mary watched in horror as her son was led to the edge of the cliff.
OK, here's the funny part. An article about paragliding in the Jerusalem Post saw fit to include this:
"Tradition says Jesus soared the eight kilometers and landed on the top of Mount Tabor where he went through the process of transfiguration. Depending on how you interpret the New Testament, one could say that thermal conditions must have been pretty good and Jesus may have made one of the first 'cross-country' flights in the Holy Land."

You can see a beautiful photo of Mt. Tabor, aka Mount of Transfiguration, here.
The JP article continues: "For the experienced, Mount Tabor is the mecca, drawing enthusiasts from around the world. A virtual thermal machine, from here paragliders can lift off, soar over the monastery and head east. Sometimes the currents will take you toward Lake Kinneret, just over where the Jordan River picks up again. Or if the winds are right you can continue to the eastern shores of the lake."
I'm just not sure the Franciscan and the Greek Orthodox monks who live on top of Mt. Tabor appreciate this overhead invasion of privacy . . . .
P.S. As a reward for reading this long post, I offer you the chance to see this picture of my daughter hang-gliding in tandem over the coast of Australia. Woohoo!


Pietro said...

Dina, your daughter is very nice (besides being beautiful, also in the italian meaning of simpatica). :-)

Eki Qushay Akhwan said...

I am somewhat afraid of open height ... but it must thrilling to fly like a bird like this ....

Saretta said...

Interesting sport!

RuneE said...

I'll just say: You have a brave daughter!!

PS Taken at 21:39

Erin said...

a fascinating read dina.
and mount tabour is beautiful and the farm land all around it...
enjoyed your post very much.
always do.

Leora said...

I'm enjoying the name "Ruach Hakadosh." Paragliding is not for me, but I can appreciate others enjoy this sport!

Baruch said...

Nice capture

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the vocabulary lesson. Nice shot too!

Kilauea Poetry said...

Nice photo and an enjoyable read..I like the ones of your daughter as well! My son did that not too long ago..I ought to do that too! ha..Aloha-

J Bar said...

Cool shot.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Anonymous said...

Lovely photo - scary but lovely!

Marju said...


Kris said...

Some people were doing that down here the other day, but it was a bit windy. They ended up about three miles from their intended landing spot!

Cloudia said...

Wish I had your daughters courage. LOVE your personal tour of the area, Dina.

Comfort Spiral

Hilda said...

Sigh. A dream of mine, paragliding. The view of monasteries from above must be amazing. Though I think you're right, the monks wouldn't appreciate that.

Religion, sport and a meme — even this particular post is amazing ;)

FA said...

Great post, Dina. So much to comment on, so, I'll chose the reward. Thanks for sharing the pictures of your daughter. Wow - pretty, smart and adventurous. You must be very proud of her. Happy belated Transfiguration Day!

Kay said...

Naomi was a beautiful wonder from before kindergarten. You have two amazing kids, Dina! Paragliding with a motor sounds incredible.