By Marissa Scott

The Man in Akko

By Marissa Scott:  With lines of wisdom and experience breaking up his dark complection, a man approached my dinner table

with words as smooth as butter cascading through his thick Israeli accent, he inquires about where we are from

he inquires about our age

he wants to know for how long we are going to be visiting

he thinks about where we are staying and what we are thinking about his home

he asks about why we are in his country


With a deep breath leading to the appearance of a big grin, he speaks

For archaeology is the gift of the future

for it is only through the knowledge of our past that we have a future

without us, as archaeologists, we would not be gifted with the future.

As tears welled in my eyes, I knew that he was magic

he was the magic air of Akko

he was the magic gift that Israel always delivers me

He has changed me.

Tuesday July 17 Caitlin, Abbey and I headed to CafeNeto for a much needed ravioli dinner. During our delicious dinner, a man approached our table. He asked us where we were from and what we were doing in Akko. We told him that we were archaeologists digging at Napoleon Hill. His face lit up. Mani, a doctor from outside the Old City of Akko, loves history and the practice of archaeology. He began to discuss with us the importance of using the knowledge of the past to learn about the future and to continue the future. He thanked us for being the gifters of that future as archaeologists.

He inquired more about our backgrounds and we got talking about religion. Although we did not all see eye to eye on whether there is a God or not, Mani left us with this final thought; if we can agree that a carpenter has built this table, think about the more complex sky and clouds and star, who made that? Without God how do we have the sky and the stars surrounding us? He promptly removed himself from the table without waiting for any responses. The three of us looked at each other in awe and confusion as to if that had really just happened. It had.

This is not my first encounter with the magic that resides in Israel. My first time in Israel, I was coming around a corner near a shuk in Jerusalem and there was a woman singing and dancing in the street. However, this was not just any woman but a replica of a younger version of my grandmother who had recently passed away. She was also singing the one song that immediately makes my whole family think of her, “Stand By Me”. My sister and I locked eyes and began to cry. It was like dancing with my grandma as a child all over again.

I think it is these magical experiences that keep bringing me back to this wonderful country. As the visits increase, I can only hope that the magic continues to surprise me.