Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jerusalem's Judas Trees in Full Bloom

Here's how our local Judas Tree looked on Easter Monday. According to legend, nearly 2000 years ago, Judas Iscariot picked an old world relative of the redbud tree to hang himself after he betrayed Jesus -- this is why all the descendents of the ornamental tree developed weak wood; it refuses to grow strong enough to hang another person.
What's more, the tree puts out blossoms on its trunk to discourage the misuse of its beauty. Pragmatists say that this tree, brought back by Crusaders, became known in Europe as the tree from Judaea (l'arbre de Judée), so it's more likely that Judas tree is a corruption of 'Judaea tree'.
Whatever. The blossoms look gorgeous next to the white stone of Jerusalem, warmed by spring sunshine. And the Christian Zionist tourists in town for Holy Week seem most intrigued by this mystery tree.

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