Old City Adventures
May 15, 2012
I’m in Israel, you guys! Shalom!
Jill and I are just hanging out in the Old City of Jerusalem. With the Orthodox Jews. And the Muslims. And the Christians. And Jesus’ tomb. And the Western Wall. And the Dome of the Rock. Whatever.
Do you know one thing I do not like about being in Israel? Having to take a bajillion hour flight to get to Israel. Here we are in New York, right before we took off for Tel Aviv.
I did not take a picture of us once we arrived in Tel Aviv nine hours later, and you should be very grateful for that. Also, I hadn’t done an overseas flight in a long time, and they have upped the technology, you guys! We could pick all our own movies and TV shows and we could even play games and charge our phones. You’d think with all that advanced technology on flights, they could add a centimeter more leg room. But no.
Our group then headed to Jerusalem to the Gloria Hotel, which is right inside the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. I don’t know if you know much about Jerusalem, but the Old City basically made up all of Jerusalem until fairly recently. Now it has spread out quite a ways, and there’s the newer part of the city, which is quite modern. But the Old City is where the magic happens. It is made up of four quarters — Jewish, Christian, Armenian and Muslim. It’s very small — .35 square miles, but there are tons of shops and churches and people. It’s a maze of narrow streets — we haven’t explored much on our own yet because I am quite sure I’d get us lost. I feel like Jerusalem must be the most diverse city in the world — we took a tour around the Old City today and heard so many languages and saw people from so many nations. There are pilgrims and residents, and everyone is there for a religious reason.
The first night we arrived, we went to the Western Wall, and then we saw it again yesterday. It is the one wall that remains from the outer court of Herod’s Temple, which stood during Jesus’ time. It is the most holy site in Judaism. People go there to pray.
The reason there is only one wall of the temple, and not a whole new temple is because the Muslims built the Dome of the Rock on the spot the temple would go. It commemorates the spot where they say Mohammed ascended into heaven, which just happened to be where the Jewish temple used to stand.
So yesterday we explored the Old City and had some lecture time at Jerusalem University College. It is Wednesday morning now (Tuesday night back home) and we’re going to learn some New Testament things today and see some cool spots around the city where Jesus spent some time.
We’ve got to finish getting ready and then go grab breakfast. I’ll try to update again soon! Shalom!