DAY 11 – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6
Today was our first day in Jerusalem. The weather was overcast but pleasant through about 1 p.m. It then rained off and on for a few hours. We left the hotel at 7:30 and drove to the Western Wall (the Kotel). With our reservation for the Western Wall Tunnel at 8:10, we proceeded straight for this very interesting archaeological wonder. We walked along this western retaining wall (built by Herod when he expanded the Temple on top) for about 400 yards, seeing massive stones (one 500+ tons) put precisely in place. No wonder the disciples marveled when they saw Herod’s Temple (Mark 13:1-2). We existed the tunnel where the Antonio Fortress once stood in Jesus’ day. From here we then walked back to the Western Wall, observing the end of their morning prayer time. Even a few Bar Mitzvah celebrations were about to start.
We walked up to the Jewish Quarter to the Temple Institute. This was an interesting encounter with those who have already prepared for the building of the “3rd Temple.” From here we walked to a shop called Shoreshim where we listened to an Orthodox Jew named Moshe share about his Jewish faith. It was quite interesting and enlightening. We enjoyed a brief Q & A time with him as well. We also enjoyed his shop (where everything has some biblical theme associated with the item).
After lunch and some free time in the Jewish Quarter (some walked to see Oscar Shindler’s grave on Mt. Zion), we walked out of Zion’s Gate where the bus picked us up. Driving to west Jerusalem, we visited the Israel Museum. Here we saw three things: The Temple model (1:50 scale model of Jerusalem during the 2nd Temple period), Shrine of the Book (with a few Dead Sea Scrolls displayed), and the archaeological wing of the museum (we saw some “highlight” items from sites we visited on this tour).
Close by is Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum & Memorial. Visiting first the “Valley of the Communities,” we heard Shlomo’s story of how he lost 12 family members in Vilna, Poland. We then walked through the Children’s Memorial (1.5 million children died) before walking through the museum itself. It was quite a sobering experience.
Driving back to the hotel, we enjoyed dinner together. Many walked around Ben Yehuda and Jaffa Road for some shopping and coffee. It was a fun evening.
DAY 12 –FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTH WALL EXCAVATIONS, GARDEN TOMB
We focus upon both OT and NT Jerusalem.