May 2018 Extensive Israel Tour Summary – Day 11

DAY 11 – TUESDAY, MAY 15: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER & SHORASHIM, CHURCH OF ST. PETER GALLICANTU, YAD VASHEM

(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.

DAY 12 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 16: TEMPLE MOUNT, SHORASHIM, TEMPLE MOUNT SIFTING PROJECT, ISRAEL MUSEUM, FREE TIME

(Theme: We finds hidden treasure in God)

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March 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 12

DAY 12 – THURSDAY, MARCH 22: OLD CITY, WAILING WALL, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

Today began in the Old City and ended in western Jerusalem. The sun was bright and sunny again, with temps around 80.

Western Wall/Tunnel

Western Wall

The Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem

Following breakfast, we left again around 7:30 this morning. We read John 2 (Temple…. 46 years to build, etc…) on the way to the Western Wall. Entering the Dung Gate into this area called the Kotel, this wall served as a retaining wall for the expanded platform of the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great beginning in 20 BC. After spending some time at the Wall, we walked about 400 yards north along this retaining wall. Here we saw massive stones, including the “Master Course” stone that weighs 100s of tons! Pastor John even was able to get a picture of the new small theater discovered recently among the ruins.

Jewish Quarter

Jerusalem model

The 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem at the Israel Museum

We returned to the Jewish Quarter. Here, we enjoyed a visit to Shorashim (“roots”) where we heard Moshe (an Orthodox Jew) share about his Jewish faith in the context of our Christian faith. It was quite interesting. Also, all the items in the store here has a biblical connection. A great place!

Israel Museum

Coffin of Herod

Herod the Great’s coffin (found at Herodum)

Following lunch on our own in the Jewish Quarter, we walked out of the Zion’s Gate and boarded the bus to the western part of the city. Our first stop of the afternoon was the Israel Museum. We saw three things here. First, a 1:50 model of Jerusalem as it looked like in 70 AD. We re-traced the steps of Jesus in and through the city that was populated by around 60,000 people. We saw the Temple (John 2, 7, 10; Mark 13, Acts 3, 5, etc…), the Siloam Pool (John 9), Herod’s Palace (Luke 23), and the two possible crucifixion sites, the southern steps, Robinson’s Arch, and many other locations.

Next, we walked through the Shrine of the Book where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. We even saw two scroll jars from Cave 1. Lastly, we saw the highlights from the archaeological museum. This included artifacts such as the Dan and Pilate Inscriptions, Hazor’s and Arad’s cultic center, Asherah figurines, ossuaries, and Herod’s coffin (among many other things).

Yad Vashem

box car Yad Vashem

A box car used in the Holocaust, at Yad Vashem

We ended the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. While walking through the Valley of the Communities, Shlomo shared his story of losing 12 family members in Vilna, Poland as a result of the Holocaust. We also walked through the Children’s Memorial and lastly the museum on our own.

We returned to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and an optional walk on the Promenade. Before going to bed, we also had turned our watches forward one hour for Israel’s daylight savings.

DAY 13 – FRIDAY, MARCH 23: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON, GARDEN TOMB

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Day 12 Trip Summary – January 2018 14 Day Israel Tour

DAY 12 – THURSDAY, JANUARY 25: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

Today was a colder day, but with just a little rain (the predicted rain came during the night). We were also glad that those who were not feeling well and stayed back yesterday were able to join us today.

Western Wall Tunnels

Western Wall in Jerusalem

The Western Wall in Jerusalem

Leaving just after 7:15 this morning and reading John 2 (a reference to the Temple being built over 46 years) as we left the hotel, we arrived at the Western Wall. Before our walk in the Western Wall Tunnels, we had time to go to the Wall and pray. Many ultra Orthodox were there as well for morning prayers.

The walk through the tunnels was fascinating! Herod’s Temple project (that he began in 20 BC) was an incredible feat! We saw some stones that weighed several hundred tons! We walked the entire distance of this western retaining wall of the Temple.

Jewish Quarter – Cardo, Herodian House, Shorashim

Herodian mansion

The 1st century ruins of the Herodian Mansion in the Jewish Quarter

Exiting the tunnel, we walked to the Jewish Quarter. Here we saw the Cardo (the main north-south street of the city). It dates to the 2nd century AD. We also saw the very impressive 1st century ruins of the Herodian Mansion. This was a massive house destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Close by we met an Orthodox Jew named Moshe. He and his brother (Dov) own a store called Shorashim. Moshe shared about his Jewish faith. We also had the chance to ask him questions. After this interesting conversation, we enjoyed lunch in the Jewish Quarter.

Israel Museum

Dan Inscription

The Dan Inscription (“with reference to the “house of David”)

Walking out of the Old City through the Zion’s Gate, we drove to the Israel Museum. Here we saw three things: A 1:50 model of 2nd Temple Jerusalem, the Shrine of the Book (where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were displayed), and the Archaeological Museum. Here we saw some “highlights” of artifacts found here in Israel related to the Bible.

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial & Museum

We ended the day at Israel’s Holocaust Museum & MemorialYad Vashem. We first walked through the Valley of the Communities where Shlomo shared his family story. He lost 12 family members in Vilna, Poland. We then walked through the Children’s Memorial and the museum itself. It was quite sobering.

We returned to the hotel for dinner and an optional walk to Ben Yehuda to experience some more “modern” Israeli life and shopping.

DAY 13 – FRIDAY, JANUARY 26: CITY OF DAVID, SOUTHERN EXCAVATIONS, A FEW FREE HOURS, GARDEN TOMB

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

DAY 8 – MONDAY, MAY 1:

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.

DAY 8 – TUESDAY, MAY 2: MT. OF OLIVES, POOL OF BETHESDA, VIA DOLOROSA, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM

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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 11 Summary

DAY 11 – THURSDAY, MARCH 23:

Western Wall

The Western Wall of Jerusalem

Today was our second day in Jerusalem. Once again, although it rained a little over the night, the skies were partly sunny, with highs in the 60s. Almost perfect!

We started our day a little early this morning. Leaving the hotel around 7:15, we drove down through the Hinnon Valley (2 Chronicles 28:3, Jeremiah 7:31) and then up towards the Old City. Entering through the Dung Gate, we first visited the famous Western Wall. This served as the western retaining wall of the Temple when Herod expanded the Temple Mount (a project that began in 20 BC). From here we walked parallel to this western wall through what is called the Western Wall Tunnel. We saw massive Herodian stones placed precisely. One called the Master Course, weighs 400+ tons!

Temple Mount Sifting

Participating in the Temple Mount Sifting Project

Walking out of the St. Stephen’s Gate, we then enjoyed being “archaeologists” at the Temple Sifting Project. Located on Mt. Scopus (the northern end of the Mt. of Olives), we sifted through the debris brought directly from the Temple Mount. A number of the group found some interesting things, including a coin probably dating to the 2nd Temple Period. We ordered in falafels for lunch and ate them before we left.

Driving now to the western part of Jerusalem, we next visited the Israel Museum. Here we saw a 1:50 scaled model of Jerusalem as it looked just prior to its destruction in 70 AD. We carefully examined the locations here key stories from the Gospels and the life of Christ took place. Also here at the museum we walked through the Shrine of the Book where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display. Lastly, we walked through the archaeological wing of the museum, seeing a few highlights (Dan Inscription, Moses’ Seat from Chorazim, the “place of trumpeting” inscription from the pinnacle of the Temple, the Pilate Inscription, and the sarcophagus of Herod the Great, among other things (1,900 year-old Roman glass pie plate).

Temple Model

The 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus (2nd Temple Period).

We ended the day with a moving visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. It was a gripping experience as we saw the Children’s Memorial. We all heard Shlomo’s story of losing 12 family members from Vilna, Poland. We also walked through the museum itself on our own, reading and hearing the many stories of the Holocaust.

We returned to the hotel for dinner, followed by an optional walk to Ben Yehuda Street for shopping and a taste of modern Israeli life.

DAY 12 – FRIDAY, MARCH 24: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON, GARDEN TOMB

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January 2017 Israel Tour – Day 13

DAY 13 – SUNDAY, JANUARY 22:

Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah’s Tunnel in the City of David. The tunnel is 1,720 feet long and was built at the end of the 8th century BC.

Today was a great last day here in Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital. The sun was full, with cool temps in the low 50s. Leaving the hotel at 7:30 again, our first stop was nearby – the City of David. Upon arriving we enjoyed a view from an observation tower. Looking north we could see where the temples of Solomon and Herod once stood. Looking east across the Kidron Valley we could see the Arab village of Silwan. To the south was where the city of Jebus was located. David conquered this city (2 Samuel 5) and then built a palace here.

Siloam Pool

The steps of the Pool of Siloam (John 9)

After seeing a 3-D video, we walked down through the excavations. We saw ruins dating to the time of the Canaanites through the time of Hezekiah. We also walked through Warren’s Shaft (once believed to be the “shaft” through which Joab and his men infiltrated the Jebusite city. Finally, we descended all the way down to the water source of the city, the Gihon Spring. Here, some walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel (2 Kings 20, 2 Chronicles 32, Isaiah 36-37). This still flows with “gently-flowing water” (Is. 8:6) about knee deep. It is 1,720 feet long. We saw the “meeting point” in the middle of this tunnel where the two team of rock-cutters met (according to the Siloam Inscription). The others in the group walked through the earlier Canaanite tunnel. Today, this is a dry tunnel that runs south along the slope of the city. At the southern end of the City of David both groups convened at the Pool of Siloam. Here we read John 9 about the blind man who was healed by Jesus.

Robinsons Arch

The SW corner of the 2nd Temple and “Robinson’s Arch.

In the late morning, we visited the “south wall excavations.” To get there, some in the group walked up through the drainage tunnel that was built underneath the Herodian street. At the SW corner of the Temple at Robinson’s Arch, we saw here Jesus as tempted (the pinnacle). We also walked up the very southern steps of the Temple, the same ones used by Jesus, the disciples, and the apostles. Here we recalled the many stories that happened in the Temple (Luke 2, 18, 21; Mark 13; John 7, Acts 2, etc…). From here we walked to the Jewish Quarter for lunch on our own.

Leaving the Old City through the Zion’s Gate, we drove to Yad Vashem (which means a “place of memorial and a name” taken from Isaiah 56:5). This is Israel’s Holocaust Museum. We first walked through the Valley of the Communities before we heard Shlomo’s personal story about losing 12 family members in Poland during WWII. We also saw the Children’s Memorial as well as the museum itself. Walking through on our own, it was quite moving and sad.

Yad Vashem

The Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.

We returned back to the hotel for our farewell dinner. After a time of sharing, some in the group were driven to the airport for their flight home. Others are planning to fly home tomorrow morning.

DAY 14 – MONDAY, JANUARY 23: FLIGHT HOME

Some in the group flew home last night, while others fly home in the morning.

It was a wonderful life-changing trip!

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Oct-Nov 2016 Israel Tour – Day 11

DAY 11- THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10 

garden tomb jerusalem

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem

Today was our last day here in Jerusalem. With full sun and perfect temps again (70s), we left our hotel around 7:45. Our first stop was the Garden Tomb. This is an relatively new (late 1800s) alternative site for Christ’s crucifixion and burial. It is a beautiful place located just north of the Old City and is operated by British believers. After seeing the proposed place of crucifixion as well as the tomb of Christ, we enjoyed a time of worship and communion together.

Leaving from here, we drove back to the southern end of the Old City where we walked into the Dung Gate. Here we visited the Southwall Excavations of the Herodian Temple. The huge stones from the Temple that were toppled by the Romans in 70 AD were piled high. We also walked on the actual Roman street that Jesus would have walked on as well. Also, this was where the pinnacle of the Temple was (the SW corner). What was left of Robinson’s Arch (named after the early explorer who discovered it in 1838) could be seen. This was the main entry for priests into the Temple during Jesus’ day. We also walked over to the southern steps of the Temple. We remembered the many references and stories that took place in the Temple (Luke 1; John 2, 10; Mark 13; Acts 2,3 & 5).

temple steps jerusalem

The steps of the Herodian / 2nd Temple in Jerusalem

From here we walked down to the City of David excavations. We first saw a 15 “3-D” movie before seeing some of the ruins. These date from the time of the Jebusites to the Nehemiah. David was the one who conquered the city (2 Samuel 5). It was also Hezekiah who expanded the city to the western hill and carved out a 1,720 foot water tunnel during the time of the Assyrian siege of the city by Sennacherib (2 Kings 19-20, 2 Chr. 32, Isaiah 36-37). We also saw David’s palace!

Continuing further down the eastern slope of the city, we walked through Warren’s Shaft and down to the Gihon Spring. This was where Solomon was made king! Splitting into two groups here, some walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel while others walk through the older Canaanite tunnel. Converging at the Pool of Siloam, we read from John 9 bout the blind man healed by Jesus here!

steps of siloam pool

Sitting on the steps of the Siloam Pool (John 9)

Accessing the Herodian drainage channel here, some walked back up to the SW corner of the Temple while others bussed to the Zion’s Gate. We all enjoyed a few hours of free time. Most took care of final shopping in the Jewish Quarter while others visited new sites (the Upper Room). We also saw many Bar Mitzvah celebrations!

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed our farewell dinner. A few joined the optional walk on the nearby Promenade.

(Note:Later tonight we plan to wake up at 2 a.m. in order to drive to Tel Aviv for our flight back home.)

DAY 12 – FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11 – FLIGHT HOME

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Oct-Nov 2016 Israel Tour – Day 10

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9 

western wall

The Western Wall of Jerusalem

Today was our second full day here in Jerusalem. It was very unique waking up finding out the results of the US Presidency from here in Israel (although we didn’t really know who won until mid-morning)!

Leaving our hotel a little earlier today, we arrived at the Western Wall. Many Ultra-Orthodox Jews were still praying, using their tallit (prayer shawl, Numbers 15) and teffilin (phylacteries, Deut. 6).  It was very interesting to see and observe this custom. Going in two groups, we were guided through the Western Wall Tunnel. Walking parallel to this western “retaining wall” built by Herod (a project that started in 20 BC), we are amazed to see how large the stones were. One  stone (the “Master Course“) is 40 x 10 x 14 deep and weighs around 600 tons and was put in place 40 feet about the ground. How they placed these large stones is quite stunning (see Mark 13:1-2). We returned to the Western Wall for a time of prayer.

Jerusalem model israel museum

The 1:50 Jerusalem Model at the Israel Museum

Walking up to the heart of the Jewish Quarter, we enjoyed a time of listening to Moshe, an Orthodox Jew. Moshe shared with us about the Jewish perspective of faith and practice. It was quite interesting. There was also some Q & A as well. His shop (Shorashim) has wonderful items (jewelry and art work), with each item having some connection to the Bible. We enjoyed a time of shopping as well as lunch here around the Jewish Quarter.

Walking out the Zion’s Gate, we boarded the bus and drove to the western part of the city. Our first stop was the Israel Museum. Located directly across from the KinessetIsrael’s parliamentary building, here we saw three things: a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it appeared in 70 AD prior to its destruction, the Shrine of the Book (where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept), and the archaeological wing of the museum. We saw highlights of the archaeological discoveries, including such things as the Dan & Pilate Inscriptions, the Arad Temple, and Herod’s sarcophagus.

Holocaust vilna poland

Shlomo’s family in Vilna, Poland prior to the Holocaust. 12 family members perished.

We ended the day at Yad VashemIsrael’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. Shlomo shared about how he lost 12 family members in Vilna, Poland. We saw the Children’s Memorial and walked through the museum on our own. It is a moving place.

We returned back to the hotel for dinner. Our optional walk tonight was to Ben Yehuda, giving us a taste for modern Israeli life and some shopping.

DAY 11 – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10 – JERUSALEM, OLD CITY, CITY OF DAVID, GARDEN TOMB

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September 2016 Israel Tour – Day 11

DAY 11 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

men praying at western wall

Orthodox men at the Western Wall, Jerusalem

This second full day here in Jerusalem was another perfect weather day, with temps around 80. We started by driving a short distance to the Western Wall. We were able to spend some time here at the most holy place in Judaism. At 8:30 we entered the Rabbinical Tunnels (“Western Wall Tunnels”) where we walked about 350 yards along this western retaining wall of Herod’s expanded Temple Mount. We saw huge blocks of stone, one the size of a bus weighing up to 600 tons. It made us recall what the disciples said about the “massive stones” of the Temple (Mark 13, Luke 21).

At the end of the tour, we walked back to the Jewish Quarter. Here we enjoyed listening to Moshe, an Orthodox Jew who talked about his Jewish faith. It was quite interesting.

Dr. Matt Morgan and Dr. Kelli Morgan sifting debris from temple mount

Temple Mount Sifting Project

Leaving the Old City through the Zion’s Gate, we boarded the bus again and drove to the Mt. of Olives. Here we participated in the Temple Mount Sifting Project. We carefully sifted through the debris from the Temple Mount in hopes of finding something important. Steve found a piece of pottery from the 1st Temple Period, while Lili found a part of a pipe from the Ottoman Period. Everyone found pieces of pottery from other periods, glass, bones, and mosaic stones. It was really neat to “handle” portions of items from the Temple Mount!

In the afternoon we drove to West Jerusalem to the Israel Museum. After grabbing a quick bite for lunch here, we saw a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem of what it looked like in 70 AD prior to its destruction by the Romans. We connected the dots between what Jerusalem looked like and the Gospel stories (i.e. Temple courts, Pools of Bethesda, Siloam Pool, Herod’s Palace, etc…).

jerusalem model at israel museum

The 1:50 Jerusalem Model at the Israel Museum

We ended the day by visiting by visiting Yad Vashem. This is Israel’s Holocaust Museum & Memorial. Shlomo shared his personal story of his family. He lost 12 family members to the Nazis regime in Poland. We also saw the many trees dedicated to the Righteous Gentiles (Oscar Schindler, Corrie ten Boom, etc…), and the Children’s Memorial. On our own we walked through the museum on our own.

We returned to the hotel for dinner (skirting around the traffic because of the Shimon Peres funeral viewing at the Kinesset – his funeral is tomorrow, with many world leaders attending) and a free evening. It was another great day here in Jerusalem!

DAY 12 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON, GARDEN TOMB

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June 2016 Israel Tour – Day 9

DAY 9 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29

Western Wall

Western Wall

Today was a sunny and comfortable day, with highs in the high 80s. We left the hotel around 7:25 and headed directly to the Western Wall. This wall served as the western retaining wall of the Temple that Herod the Great expanded in 20 BC. What we did is enter what is called the Western Wall Tunnel and walked parallel to this wall most of the entire distance (about 400 yards). The stones put into place were massive, with one (called the Master Course) weighing an approximate 400-500 tons. No wonder the disciples commented about the beauty of the Temple (Mark 13:1-2, Luke 21:5). Leaving the tunnel, we returned back to the Western Wall for an opportunity to go down to the Wall and pray.

Temple Mount

Temple Mount Sifting Project

Meeting our bus outside the Dung Gate, we drove to the Mt. of Olives for participating in Temple Sifting Project. What we did is “wet-sift” through buckets of debris that came from the Temple Mount. We found all kinds of pottery (even from the 1st Temple Period), mosaics, Roman glass, and other items from various archaeological periods. One even found a metal coin from the 2nd Temple Period! It was fun to participate.

This afternoon we drove to the Israel Museum. Following eating lunch here, we saw three things: The 1:50 model of 2nd Temple Jerusalem (seeing what Jerusalem looked like during the time of Jesus), the Shrine of the Book (some of the Dead Sea scrolls), and the archaeological wing of the museum itself (seeing things like the Dan inscription, the Moses’ Seat from Chorazim, the “to the place of trumpeting” from the SW corner of the Temple, and the Pilate Inscription from Caesarea, among many other things).

King Herod

King Herod’s sarcophagus (found at Herodium)

We end the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. We first heard Shlomo’s family story from Poland before walking through the Children’s Memorial and the museum itself. It was a moving and emotional encounter, being reminded of the level of evil in the world.

We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and am optional gathering with Gaby Barkay, one of Jerusalem’s leading archaeological scholar. Some also enjoyed a walk on the Promenade.

DAY 10 – THURSDAY, JUNE 30: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON, GARDEN TOMB

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