DAY 9 – MONDAY – OCTOBER 14
We took off a bit earlier from the hotel this morning. It would be yet another brilliantly sunny day, with temps in the high 70s. Rounding the Old City once again, we drove to our first site – the Western or Wailing Wall. Walking into the Old City through the Dung Gate, we visited the Wall for a few minutes while waiting our time slot for what is called the Rabbinic or Western Wall Tunnel. We encountered many orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews in the middle of their morning prayers. As for the tunnel tour, we walked parallel to this western retaining wall. We even saw one Herodian stone (the “Master Course”) that weighs around 550 tons (that’s right…. tons, the weight and size of a school bus!).
Once this walk finished, we made our way back to the Jewish Quarter to a shop called Shoreshim. Here, we listened to Moshe, an Orthodox Jew who talked about his Jewish faith in the context of our Christian faith. Close by is the Temple Institute, a Jewish organization that is preparing for the Third Temple to be built here in Jerusalem. It as a very interesting and intriguing experience. After this, we ate lunch in the Jewish Quarter.
Following lunch we walked out of the Zion’s Gate and drove to the western part of the city. Our first stop of the afternoon was the Israel Museum. Here, we saw an impressive model of 2nd Temple Jerusalem and the Archaeological Museum. Seeing this 1:50 scale model is so very helpful in being able to understand the Jerusalem that Jesus knew. In the museum, we saw some of the highlights of artifacts found from all over the country.
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial & Museum, is located nearby. This was our last stop of the day. Here we heard of Shlomo’s personal story about his family members losing their lives in Poland (of 12 family members, he lost all but one, his uncle). We also walked through the Children’s Memorial and the museum itself. It’s sobering to understand the atrocities of the Holocaust.
We returned to the hotel for dinner and an optional walk to Ben Yehuda Street. Some of us stopped at the old train station, now renovated into shops and cafe’s, for some ice cream. What a great day here in Jerusalem!