DAY 9– SUNDAY, MARCH 22
Today was the coolest day yet, with highs in the 50s. We had a few rain showers last night and this early this morning, but this past once we started this morning. Our first stop was the Western Wall. In two groups, we enjoyed a walk in the “Western Wall Tunnels.” Here we saw the massive stones, one weighing over 500 tons. Herod was sure an impressive builder.
After exiting the tunnels, we walked back to the Jewish Quarter. We visited the Cardo before having some free time for exploring the area on our own. We re-gathered at Shoreshim where we listened to an Orthodox Jew, Moshe, talk about his faith and practice. It was very interesting and enlightening.
Following lunch (in the Jewish Quarter), we walked out of Zion’s Gate and boarded the bus. We drove to the Israel Museum. Here we saw a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem during 2nd Temple days. We also saw the “highlights” in the archaeological museum. We saw the horned altar found at Dan, the high place found at Arad, and the Pilate inscription found at Caesarea, among other artifacts.
We ended the day at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. We listened to Shlomo’s personal story (he lost 12 family members in Vilna, Poland), and visited the Children’s Memorial. We also walked through the museum on our own. May this atrocity never happen again to the Jewish people!
We returned to the hotel to freshen up a little before heading out to the Olives & Fish restaurant for our “Farewell Dinner.” Although we don’t leave until tomorrow, we enjoyed great food and fellowship. Following dinner, some walked to Ben Yehuda Street for a taste of some modern Israeli culture. On the way, we stopped in to see the famous “signature floor” of the King David hotel.
DAY 10– MONDAY, MARCH 23
We plan to visit the City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Siloam Pool, the Temple’s south-wall excavations, and the Garden Tomb. Those going to Jordan will head to the border tomorrow afternoon. Those who are not will fly home late on a 11:45 p.m. flight.