Day 6: Rabbinical Tunnel tour underneath the Western Wall; Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum); Shrine of the Book (Dead Sea Scrolls Museum); Jerusalem model from the Second Temple Period.
We started off with a tour underground of the Rabbinical tunnel that has been excavated around the Western Wall. In some places they have gone down to the original road of the Second Temple period. Here are my feet and Ben’s feet on that road – Jesus probably walked on the same road!
We spent a good part of the day at the Holocaust Museum. Pictures are not allowed. They have a memorial to all of the children killed during the Holocaust. With mirrors and candles it appears as if there are millions of candles flickering – one for each child that was lost. There is also a plaque for each of the Righteous throughout the garden. The Righteous are those who helped the Jews escape or hide from the enemy. One story was of an older man who collected and protected children and orphans. He was successful in hiding them, only to be discovered and executed just months before the end of the war. There is also a room with the records of every Jew from the Holocaust – whether they lived or died. Family members can submit information or search there to see if anyone else has information on their loved ones.
Outside of the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed, is an impressive model of Jerusalem from the Second Temple period. It is built to scale, and I was struck by the size of the Temple Mount in comparison to everything else. I never realized it was that large before. This picture shows the Eastern side of the Temple Mount.
This is a close-up of the Holy of Holies and the court outside of it.
Day 7: Ein Gedi (the oasis in the Judaean Desert where David found refreshment); Camel rides at sea level; Masada (the fortress built by Herod the Great, later utilized by the Jewish zealots to fend off the Romans for three years. Masada pictures will have a separate post); The Dead Sea.
Our bus pulled off near the sign that marked Sea Level (we were headed south to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth). We were going to take some pictures. There was a camel on the side of the road. Meredith, my sister-in-law, went up to the camel. All of the sudden this little Arab man appeared and started yelling “Spit, spit, spit.” I guess he was warning Mere that the camel might spit!
Shimon, our guide, had told us that you can get on the camel. “They never charge you to get on. They only charge when you want to get off!” We paid our fifteen shekels for a photo-op ride on the camel. The man would hiss at the camel, and it would fold its legs underneath himself and sit on a carpet. After you mounted, the man would make another sound and the camel would stand up. He guided the camel over to the “sea level” sign and said, “Picture please.” Then he moved the camel to have the desert scenery in the background and said, “Picture with desert.” And then your ride was over!
Ben and I rode the camel at the same time. This is our “Picture with desert!”
Pastor Neiner, Ben’s pastor from Massachusetts was convinced to take a ride!
Here is the Hamilton family at Sea Level in Israel – Sissy/Mom and Ben in the back, Dad/Jim, Meredith, Evan, and Andrea in front.
This is Ben & Andrea at Sea Level.
This is the oasis at Ein Gedi where David found refreshment in the wilderness. There is a spring/waterfall right in the middle of the desert. There are numerous caves throughout the desert hills where David probably hid from King Saul.
As we were leaving Ein Gedi there was a “herd” of these little deer like animals. I can’t remember what they were called, but perhaps they were the “hinds” that David speaks of in the Psalms. Tim and Sam Walkowicz were feeding them.