We Are Off To Israel

We Are Off To Israel
So long Canada Shalom Israel

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Exploring the Old City

Rabbi Michael Klein-Katz, "a cool rabbi we enjoyed getting to know", taught us today that half of the world's population consider Jerusalem as a religious center of the world. Today we explored all four quarters of the Old City, with a focus on Judaism, Islam and Christianity. "I enjoyed actually getting the chance to visit the old city and not just looking at it from afar, as I got to explore some of the most important sites for various religions."

The day began by ascending the steps that once lead to the Second Temple by singing our psalm of ascension, Psalm 126:1-6. From there we got a 3D look at what the current structure most likely looked like when it stood 2000 years ago. This really helped to gain a perspective of what stood before us.

The next stop was the Western Wall, the Kotel; an experience so many recall. For many, this was the best moment of the day. We particularly liked "praying" and "putting prayers in the wall." "It was a pretty unique experience. It felt very spiritual and enhancing."

"Seeing all the religions' significant places" continued after lunch when we visited the Temple Mount. "The Muslim architecture was awesome." Rabbi Klein-Katz highlighted our unique opportunity to visit this holy place for Muslims and we felt lucky "seeing a place that few Jews get the chance to see." As we circled the Dome of the Rock we couldn't help but wonder where the Holy of Holies from our own Temple once stood.

Our last religion to explore in the Old City was Christianity. Through following the last few stations of the cross we "learned where Jesus walked." In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre we watched as devout Christians place their hand upon the spot the cross was erected, place themselves and objects on the stone Jesus was prepared for burial and as they entered the tomb Jesus was buried and then rose from three days later. Their faith-based devotion to these locations was interesting.

After a very long day of walking from quarter to quarter, and ascending and descending hundreds of stairs our feet were ready for a break. It was a beautiful, cloudless, blue-sky day. It concluded with free time on Ben Yehuda Street. "It was really fun." We had dinner and did some shopping. One of us "picked out a ring with his Hebrew name".

Today was also special because we got to celebrate Zachary's 16th birthday. That was his favorite part of the day too!

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