DAY 11 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
It was another great day here in Jerusalem! Temps were comfortable (80s) with hazy but less-dusty skies. Starting at 7:30 again, we drove just a short distance to the Old City. Entering the Dung Gate, we visited the Western Wall Tunnels. We walked parallel along this western “retaining wall” of the Temple, seeing one Herodian stone as big as a bus and weighing 500 tons or so. The Temple sure was a “magnificent” building (Mark 13:1-2).
We spent the rest of the morning in the Jewish Quarter. We visited the Temple Institute and learned about the preparations, by certain a sect of Jews, to build the Third Temple. Next, we enjoyed hearing Moshe, an Orthodox Jew, talk about his faith. Many purchased items from his shop (Shorashim), all related in some way to the Bible. We enjoyed lunch in the Jewish Quarter as well.
Walking out of the Zion’s Gate, we boarded the bus and drove to the Israel Museum. First, we saw a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem. It was helpful to understand what Jerusalem looked like at the time of Jesus. Next, we walked through the Shrine of the Book. Here we saw fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran (including the Temple Scroll from Cave 11 that we saw and entered last week!). Finally, we saw the “highlights” of artifacts in the archaeological wing of the museum. This included the Dan inscription, the Arad holy place, some of the Lachish letters, the “Moses seat” from Chorazim, the ossuary of Caiaphas, the “Pilate inscription,” and the sarcophagus of Herod the Great, among other things).
We ended the day at Yad Vashem Israel’s Holocaust Museum & Memorial. We heard Shlomo share about his family (he lost 12 family members in Vilna, Poland). We visited the Children’s Memorial and walked through the museum on our own. It was quite moving, yet sad at the same time.
We returned to the hotel for dinner and a free night.
DAY 12 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11: GARDEN TOMB, JERUSALEM, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SILOAM POOL, SOUTHERN EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON