May 2018 Extensive Israel Tour Summary – Day 11


(Theme of the day: Facing the “walls” of life)

This morning was an early start here in Jerusalem. With breakfast at 6 a.m., we departed shortly after 6:30 because of the early reservations made for the Western Wall Tunnels. We enjoyed the sun and perfect temps (mid 70s) once again. The day would also be a lighter day, with some free time.

Western Wall Tunnels

Master Course

The “Master Course” in the Western Wall Tunnel

Visiting the Western Wall was special. Here we saw many Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at the Wall for morning prayers. In three groups, we saw more than just this part of the exposed Wall. We entered into the Western Wall Tunnels and walked parallel to this western retaining wall about 400 yards. Here we saw huge stones on the Temple placed by Herod the Great, a project he began in 20 BC. One stone, called the Master Course, weighs several hundred tons. For sure, the Temple was the most extensive building project in the ancient near eastern world at this time!  Up to the time of Jesus, the temple was already in its 46th year of building (John 2).

Peter Gallicantu Church

Herodian street

Herodian Street

After returning to the Wall for more time here, we walked out of the Dung Gate and boarded our bus for the short drive up the hill to the Peter Gallicantu Church. This is the traditional location for the house of Caiphias, the High Priest who bound Jesus (Luke 22). After visiting the church, we descended further down the slope. The most impressive thing to see here was the stone steps dating to the 2nd Temple period. These set of steps would have connected the upper city with the lower city of Jerusalem. Jesus would have used these steps!  We also saw a model of Byzantine Jerusalem.

Yad Vashem

The Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem

From here we drove to western Jerusalem to Israel’s Holocaust Museum & Memorial called Yad Vashem. We first visited the Valley of the Communities, highlighting all the cities and towns throughout Europe effected by the Nazis. Both Eli and Shlomo shared their personal stories.

In the visitor center we ate lunch, followed by walking through both the Childrens’ Memorial (1.5 million children were killed), and the museum itself. Along all the pathways are trees planted in memory of the righteous Gentiles who saved Jews during WWII. Certainly, this place is a difficult yet important place to visit.

Old City/Free Time

Leaving Yad Vashem, we drove back to the hotel. Many on both buses got off at the Jaffa Gate for some free time in the Old City. Some walked on the ramparts (Turkish walls of the city), gaining a unique perspective of the city and people below.  

Returned to the hotel for dinner and a free evening.


(Theme: We finds hidden treasure in God)

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April-May 2017 Israel-Egypt Tour Update: Day 8


Today was our first full day in Jerusalem. On this Memorial Day here in Israel, it was a beautifully sunny day, with comfortable temps around 80.

Western Wall

Memorial Day at the Western Wall, Jerusalem

Leaving at 7:20 this morning, we drove to the southern end of the Old City and entered the Kotel Western Wall area. As we left, we read from Mark 13:1-2 that mentions the “massive stones” of the Temple, setting the theme for the morning. This is the most holy place for Jews because of it’s proximity to where the 1st and 2nd Temples once stood. This “Western Wall” (also called Wailing Wall) served as a retaining wall for the Temple platform expanded by Herod the Great.

After going down to The Wall for a time of prayer, we entered the Western Wall Tunnel. This has been an archaeological site since the 70s. We walked parallel to this western retaining wall for about 250 yards. We saw massive yet carefully-placed stones of the Temple Jesus saw, including one stone called the Master Course (weighing 250-600 tons, depending on who you talk to).

Master Course

The “Master Course” stone (250 – 600 tons)

Leaving the tunnels, we returned to the Jewish Quarter for a visit to the Temple Institute. This is operated by a small sect of Orthodox Jews who are preparing for the building of the 3rd Temple. It was quite interesting to see and hear about all the Temple vessels already prepared in anticipation of the Messiah’s coming.

Walking out of the Jewish Quarter through the Zion’s Gate, the memorial siren sounded at 11 a.m. We all stood in respect of the fallen IDF soldiers.

Jerusalem Model

The 1:50 scale Jerusalem Model at the Israel Museum

After this moment of silence, we drove to the Israel Museum. Here, we saw three things – a 1:50-scale model of Jerusalem like it look like in 70 AD prior to its destruction (we retraced the ministry of Jesus, including the Temple Mount), the Shrine of the Book museum (where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display), and lastly the archaeological wing of the museum (where we saw highlights of artifacts, e.g. the Dan & Pilate Inscriptions, Canaanite weaponry, cultic items, figurines, ossuaries, Herod’s sarcophagus, the Moses’ Seat, etc…).

We ended the day with a moving and emotional visit to Yad Vashem (literally a “place/memorial and a name” from Isaiah 56:5). This is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. We first walked through the Valley of the Communities where we heard Shlomo share his personal story of losing 12 family members from Vilna, Poland. We then walked through the Children’s Memorial and the museum itself. It was a very moving experience, especially being here on Memorial Day.

Dan Inscription

The “Dan Inscription” in the Israel Museum

We returned back to our hotel for dinner. We then bussed to Ben Yehuda for a fun time of celebrating Israel’s Independence Day. It was packed with people. After enjoying some shopping, we walked back to the hotel.


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Israel/Jordan Tour – Nov, 2012 – Day 12

Once again, a nice sunrise was enjoyed over the Mt. of Olives as we departed at 7:30 this morning after breakfast. Our first stop was the Western Wall. We spent about 30 minutes at the Wall. From here we walked about 400 yards along the western wall as it extends northward through what is called the Western Wall Tunnel (or “Rabbinical Tunnel”). Here we saw the massive stones paced by Herod as he expanded the Temple Mount, a project that began in 20 BC. It is suggested that one stone weighs about 450-550 tons. How did they move it into place is the question. Quite amazing! We left the Western Wall plaza and ascended the steps that lead into the … Continue reading