The city of Jerusalem provides a beautiful backdrop for a group photo. We almost always have a photo made of the group from the Mount of Olives with the city of Jerusalem in the background.
At this time of year there are no clouds to be seen, but the sky is clear. Click on the photo of our group of 46 travelers, plus our guide and driver, for a larger image. This will allow you to pick out any of the persons you may know. These folks are from numerous states ranging from the Northwest to Florida and Southern California to the Midwest.
We crossed out of Israel into the region controlled by the Palestinian Authority to visit Bethlehem. There we visited the Church of the Nativity and (one of) the Shepherd’s Fields. Tourists always enjoy shopping in Bethlehem. Specialties include olive wood carvings, mother of pearl, and jewelry. In the past I have enjoyed visiting a store operated by two brothers, but in the years of the Second Intifada they closed the store and moved to the USA where they had gained citizenship.
Today we visited a shop with some history — the Kando Store. One does not have to read very much about the early history of the Dead Sea Scrolls to encounter the name Kando. He was the shopkeeper who bought some of the original scrolls from the bedouin. In those years he operated a store directly across from the American Schools of Oriental Research (now the Albright Institute) in East Jerusalem (then in Jordan). I think it was 1969 (or 1970 or 1971) when Melvin Curry and I went to Kando’s antiquities shop and purchased about $1,000 worth of antiquities for Florida College. Those antiquities are now displayed in the Chatlos Library on the campus in Temple Terrace, FL. They have been used in the Bible and Archaeology class many times. Today $1,000 would buy only about 4 good Herodian lamps, but we got a nice collection back then.
Kando was a Syrian Christian whose full name was Khalil Iskander Shahin. His name appears many times on the page describing the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Schøyen Collection. His family now operates the Kando Store in Bethlehem. All of the scrolls, and things pertaining to the scrolls, that came to the hands of Kando, have now been disposed of except for the original jar in which the Temple Scrolls was found.
I was pleased to meet Shibly, the grandson of Kando, and have my photo made with him. You can see the original jar in the case between us.
It was 1956-57 when I began reading about the Dead Sea Scrolls. Being in the Kando Store today was an added excitement to any already great day of touring.