DAY 9 – SUNDAY, MAY 29
Today was another perfect weather day, with sun and temps in the 70s. Our first visit of the day was to the famous Western Wall (also called Wailing Wall). We arrived in time for morning prayers. Many Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox Jews covered themselves with their tallit (prayer shawl).
For the purpose of learning more about this wall, we entered what is called the Western Wall Tunnel. Here we walked about 1,000 feet along this wall that served as a retaining wall by King Herod as he expanded the Temple Mount above (large enough for 11 football fields!). We saw massive stones, one of which (called the master course) weighing over 500 tons. We remembered the words of Mark 13:1-2 (and Luke 21:5) that preserves the comments of the disciples as they left the Temple (“wow, what a beautiful building/stones…”)
Exiting this “tunnel,” we returned to the Western Wall and climb the steps to the heart of the Jewish Quarter. Here we enjoyed listening to Moshe an Orthodox Jew who shared about His Jewish faith. We also enjoyed his shop (“Shorashim”).
After some free time and lunch, we walked out of Zion’s Gate to meet our bus. Driving to western Jerusalem, we visited the Israel Museum. Here we saw a 1:50 scale model of 2nd Temple Jerusalem (NT period). We also walked through the Shrine of the Book (to see some of the Dead Sea scrolls) and the archaeological wing of the museum.
Leaving the museum, we next visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. We heard Shlomo share his personal story (he lost a total of 12 family members in Vilna, Poland). We also walked through the Children’s Memorial and the museum itself. It as quite a moving experience!
On our way back to the hotel, we made a brief visit to the 9-11 Memorial. Arriving back to the hotel, we enjoyed dinner as well as another optional walk.
DAY 10 – MONDAY, MAY 30: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, GARDEN TOMB, HOUSE OF CAIAPHAS