Once again, a nice sunrise was enjoyed over the Mt. of Olives as we departed at 7:30 this morning after breakfast. Our first stop was the Western Wall. We spent about 30 minutes at the Wall. From here we walked about 400 yards along the western wall as it extends northward through what is called the Western Wall Tunnel (or “Rabbinical Tunnel”). Here we saw the massive stones paced by Herod as he expanded the Temple Mount, a project that began in 20 BC. It is suggested that one stone weighs about 450-550 tons. How did they move it into place is the question. Quite amazing! We left the Western Wall plaza and ascended the steps that lead into the Jewish Quarter. We went to a shop called Shoreshim (‘Roots’ in Hebrew) where Moshe, an Orthodox Jew, shared about His Jewish faith. We also ate lunch here in the center of the Jewish Quarter.
Leaving the Old City through the Zion’s Gate, we headed to west Jerusalem to the Israel Museum. We were impressed by the 50:1 scale model of 2nd Temple Jerusalem. This model really helped us visualize Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. We also entered the Shrine of the Book, the part of the museum that displays some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Close by was Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum and Memorial. We heard Shlomo share his personal stories of how many of his family died in Poland at the hand of the Nazi’s. We walked through the Children’s Memorial (1.5 children lost their lives) as well as the museum itself. We were all touched by being here, and pray along with our Israeli friends that a Holocaust never happens again.
To end the day, our guide arranged a personal meeting with his brother-in-law, a Yemenite scribe of the Torah Scriptures. It was fascinating to hear how scrolls are made and the careful process required. We all appreciated this personalized encounter.
We returned to the hotel for dinner, with few of us enjoying an optional walk afterwards.