When traveling for two weeks on a tour in another country, you get to know the local guide. This was the case two years ago when I went on a tour of Israel with Ferrell Jenkins.
Our local guide was Elie or Eliemelech Ben-Meir. Ferrel had worked with Elie on many of his trips to Israel.
While traveling in Turkey earlier this month Ferrell shared some news about Elie and his daughter. Many of us on the trip knew him from earlier trips to Israel.
Later in the trip news came that Elie had suffered a stroke while visiting his family in the U.S. and that he was in a coma. We anxiously awaited news as to how he was doing, and unfortunately the news came yesterday morning (Saturday) that he had passed away on Friday evening.
When I heard the news yesterday I went through my pictures to help bring back memories of Elie and my trip to Israel. I found the picture above of Ferrell and Elie discussing how they would talk about the Sea of Galilee during our boat ride.
This made me think of one of Elie’s passions. He was a big advocate for Bluegrass music in Israel and had at one time played in a band called Galilee Grass. His daughter carried on his passion for music and he was in the U.S. this month for her graduation from music school.
Another picture I found was one that I took of Elie at Bethsaida while he was waiting for the group to catch up so he could talk about the city gates. I will always remember his blue hat, we could easily find him in a crowd by looking for it.
We learned so much about the culture and history of Israel by listening to Elie as he would talk about the many places we would visit. He worked very well with Ferrell, they made a great team.
I had hoped to meet up with Elie again on a future trip to Israel. I had planned on going again this year, but postponed the trip.
I found out this morning that his graveside services were held today in Ohio and that an additional memorial would be held in Israel later this week.
Please keep Elie’s family in your prayers.