DAY 10 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19: OVERLOOK & HIKE IN WADI QELT, FREE TIME IN OLD CITY, YAD VASHEM HOLOCAUST MESEUM & MEMORIAL
Today was a mix of desert and city. Predictably for this time of year, it was another sunny and warm day, with highs in the high 80s.
Wadi Qelt / St. George Monastery
We left the hotel again at 7:30. We drove around the north side of the Old City towards the Judean Desert, reading Psalm 137 as we started this second to last day here in Israel (it does not look promising with British Air for being able to extend the trip by two days). First, We enjoyed an incredible overlook of the Wadi Qelt. Here we heard the word of Isaiah (Is. 40) echo through the desert. Shlomo also sang Psalm 23. It was a perfect backdrop for both passages. We even saw a gazelle!
We then drove further to the St. George’s Monastery. Built right into the cliff of the desert, this Greek Orthodox monastery has been here since around 500 AD. Some in the group descended down to the monastery and hiked on the trail that leads to Jericho.
“I really enjoyed the Judean Desert today. Hiking down to the bottom was wonderful. The afternoon was also very special as Shlomo shared his personal story about losing 12 family members in the Holocaust. Very touching and sombering!” – Tour Member-
Old City / Free Time
We drove back to Jerusalem from here. We wee dropped off at the Zion’s Gate. We walked into the Jewish Quarter for lunch and some exploring on our own. Some ascended the high tower of the Redeemer Lutheran Church for a great view of the entire Old City.
At 1:30 we walked out of the Zion’s Gate and were picked up by David. We drove to Yad Vashem (A “memory and a name” from Isaiah 56:5). This is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. We first walked through the Valley of the Communities. We then drove to the main entrance of the Museum. Shlomo shared his personal story of losing 12 family members from Vilna, Poland. We also walked through the Childen’s Memorial and finally the museum itself. It was a somber experience as we remembered the 6 million Jews who lost their lives to the Nazi regime.
We drove back to the hotel at 6:15 for dinner and a free evening.