DAY 9 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11: OLD CITY, WAILING WALL, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM
Today was our second day here in Jerusalem. The day would begin with a focus on the 2nd Temple, with the end of the day providing an opportunity to remember the Holocaust. The weather was perfect, with sun and highs in the mid 60s.
Western Wall / Rabbinical Tunnel
Leaving shortly after 7:30 again after breakfast, we arrived at the Western Wall or Kotel. This wall (also referred to as the Wailing Wall) served as a retaining wall for Herod who expanded the platform of the Temple. A number went down to the Wall for a time of prayer. From this area, we walked north parallel to this wall in what is called the Rabbinical Tunnel. Along this 400 yard section of the wall, we saw the massive stones placed by Herod, some of which weighed 100s of tons! We also snuck quick peak at the newly discovered small theater called an odion. It is located near an archway that served as a pathway for priests to enter the Temple.
Walking through the Muslim Quarter back to the Jewish Quarter, we enjoyed a time with Moshe. He and his brothers are Orthodox Jews who have a store called Shorashim. Moshe shared some very interesting things about his faith and Jewish practices. Following his talk, we enjoyed an hour of free time and lunch.
“This afternoon we went to Israel’s Holocaust Museum called Yad Vashem. While it was not a fun place, it is an important place to remember the 6 million Jews who were killed by Nazi Germany. I appreciated hearing the stories. May it never happen again!” -Tour Member-
Walking out of the Old City through the Zion’s Gate, we boarded our buses and drove to the Israel Museum. Here we first saw a 1:50 scale model of 2nd Temple Jerusalem. Seeing this model gave us a great perspective of what the city and Temple looked like when Jesus was here. Seeing the model really helped us to retrace Jesus’ footsteps and ministry in and around the city as well as the location of His crucifixion and burial.
Next, we walked through the Shrine of the Book where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed and the archaeological wing of the museum. Here we saw the highlights of some of the artifacts discovered. Among what we saw included the Dan and Pilate Inscriptions, the Beersheba altar, the silver amulet from the Ketef Hinnom tomb, the Lachish Relief (replica), the Siloam Inscription (replica), and the sarcophagus of Caiaphas, the High Priest. We also aw the newly displayed 1st century BC “Yerushalyim” inscription recently found here in Jerusalem.
We ended the day at Israel’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. Called Yad Vashem (a “memory/hand & a name,” from Isaiah 56:5), this is the largest museum of its kind. Here we heard personal stories from our guides. We also walked through the Children’s Memorial and the museum. The experience here was quite sobering.
We returned to our hotels for dinner. Some enjoyed a short walk on the Promenade, south of the city.