DAY 11 – TUESDAY, JANUARY 20
It was a sunny and even warmer day today, with highs in the mid 60s. We left the hotel again at 7:30. Our first stop as the Western Wall. Entering the “Kotel” (Western Wall plaza), we first visited the “rabbinical tunnel” (as it is called) that runs parallel to this western retaining wall of the Temple. It was amazing to see how large the Herodian stones are. They were placed with precision, a project started by Herod in 20 BC. We exited the tunnel and returned to the Western Wall, the most holy place for Jews today.
Walking up to the Jewish Quarter, we visited the Burnt House. This was a 1st century house destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Nearby we heard an Orthodox Jew named Moshe share about his faith. He and his brother own a shop named Shoreshim. It was interesting to hear him share. We ate lunch in the area of the Hurva synagogue. From here, some visited the Upper Room and Oscar Shindler’s grave, both located on “Mt. Zion.”
In the afternoon, we drove to west Jerusalem. Our first stop as Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. We visited the “Valley of the Communities” where we heard Shlomo share about the dozen family members he lost from Vilna, Poland. We also walked through the Children’s Memorial and museum.
On our way back to the hotel, we made a brief stop at the Israel Museum. Here we saw a 1:50 scale replica of 1st Century Jerusalem. We also saw some of the “highlight” artifacts in the archaeological wing of the museum.
We returned to the hotel for dinner and another optional walk (this time to Ben Yehuda).
DAY 12 – WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21
We plan to visit the Garden Tomb, City of David, and south-wall excavations of the Temple. We plan to enjoy a free afternoon.