In my head, I made a New Year’s resolution that I would send out a story every Monday thru Friday, starting today. It’s a resolution that is, frankly, a bit intimidating, but, I want you all to keep me going after this goal, which is why I’m typing it right here.
In February of 2001, a new theme park opened in Orlando, Florida. The park, called “The Holy Land Experience,” recreates famous Holy Land places and scenes from the Bible. Visitors can tour exhibits such as the tomb of Christ, Harod’s Temple and Qumran caves.
The park has several exhibits which are a source of controversy between the park’s creators and the Jewish community. The park’s founders says the goal of the park is to spread Christianity, but critics are at issue with the manner of the presentation.
One of the more controversial exhibits is a recreation of the Wilderness Tabernacle. The attraction features a multimedia presentation with Jewish songs and prayers. The park prominently displays Jewish symbols, and Jewish leaders are concerned that the park is creating false links between Judaism and Christianity.
Another controversial exhibit recreates the modern city of Jerusalem. In predominately Jewish settlements, visitors must avoid possible sites of terrorist violence, including cafes and public transportation. Visitors get special door prizes for correctly identifying peripatetic suicide bombers. In predominantly Palestinian areas, guests are invited to throw foam rocks at actors in Israeli anti-terrorist uniforms, and are invited to try there luck at evading identification and capture as a suicide bomber.
Happy New Year! See you on Monday.
peripatetic / pehr – uh- puh -TET -ik / walking about from place to place, pedestrian, itinerant