DAY 10, TUESDAY, NOV 19
It was another sunny day in Jerusalem, with comfortable highs in the 60s. The morning started with a 7:20 departure so that we could make it to the Western (Wailing) Wall and our walk along this western retaining wall of Herod’s temple. Following spending some time at the Wall itself watching this morning prayer time of the ultra-orthodox, the tour of the “Western Wall Tunnel” complex was fascinating! We saw Herodian stone built upon another, with the estimated weight of one stone (the “Master Course”) being 550 tons. How they placed this one stone 40 feet above the pavement below is remarkable.
Walking up to the Jewish Quarter, we visited the Burnt House. About six of seven houses from the 2nd Temple period that were destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans have been found. In this particular house, a iron spear was found as well as the skeleton of the outstretched arm of a woman. Close by is a store owned by Moshe and Dov, two Orthodox Jews. We listened to Moshe share about his Jewish faith. It was an interesting time of learning about the beliefs and practices of the Jewish faith. After this time with Moshe, we enjoyed lunch in the main plaza of the Jewish Quarter.
This afternoon we traveled to the western part of Jerusalem. Here we visited the Israel Museum. Displayed here is a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem just prior to the Roman destruction in 70 AD. The models offers a great picture of what Jerusalem would have looked like in the days of Jesus. Here we also saw the “highlight” artifacts in the archaeological part of the museum.
Lastly, we visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial & Museum. We learned of Shlomo’s (our guide) family stories of losing a total of 12 family member in Poland. We walked through both the Children’s Memorial as well as the museum itself. To think that 6 million Jews lost their lives at the hand of the Nazi regime is emotionally numbing.
We returned to our hotel for dinner. This was a free night, with a number relaxing around the hotel, with others taking a walk to the King David hotel and the old railroad station (now a beautiful plaza stores, coffee houses, and ice cream shops.)
DAY 11, WEDNESDAY, NOV 20
We plan to visit the Temple Mount, Garden Tomb, City of David excavations, the southern wall excavations (e.g. temple steps), and a walk through Hezekiah’s tunnel.