|Standing in front of a mural depicting
the market of Jerusalem circa the year zero
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
e had a wonderful first day in Jerusalem! It began with a short ride from the hotel to the Old City. There, the holiest sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam sit side by side. Avi, our guide, gave us an overview of the centuries of history that were before us. We toured the Jewish Quarter, where Jews were forced from their homes in 1948 and returned in 1967.
We all held hands as we approached the Temple Mount from above and saw the Western Wall (the Kotel) for the first time. What a sight! The next stop was the Southern Wall, where each family composed its own family prayer. We toured the tunnels along the Western Wall and saw the many layers of history of this historic and sacred site.
We were able to spend time at the Kotel and place our handwritten prayers in the spaces between the large stones. It was a special and moving experience. Then, it was a walk through the narrow, bustling streets of the Arab Quarter. We had time for lunch (falafel, pizza, shwarma!) and some shopping.
After lunch it was off to the Judean foothills for an archaeological dig at Bet Guvrin Caves. We got our hands dirty as we uncovered pottery and other remains from the Hellenistic period, 2,300 years ago. For the adventurous among us, we crawled through candlelit caves full of narrow passages. It was an exciting and fun-filled afternoon.
The drive back to Jerusalem was quiet as we looked out the windows at the beautiful, desolate Judean landscape and listened to Avi tell us of what we had in store for us on Thursday. (Masada!)
— The Janover Family
Back to Israel Journal (2009)
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