The last time I wrote about our trip, we had just made it to our hotel in Jerusalem, anticipating the extensive touring that was to take place on Thursday. The day began at the Haas Promenade. The gorgeous view served as a great backdrop to Yael’s discussion of the history of Jerusalem, from the ancient to the modern day. Following Yael’s exposÃ©, our trippers took about 8 million pics. OK, maybe only 7 million. But that’s what one does there. The view demands it! Your only other choices are overpriced Popsicles and a stanky bathroom that costs 2 shekels to use.
Once the photo snapping frenzy abated, everyone got on the bus and we headed off to the Old City of Jerusalem where we visited the Tower of David, Jerusalem’s trademark image even though King David didn’t build it or have anything to do with it. But it sure is pretty and contains a great presentation on the history of Jerusalem through the ages. When we were done with the Tower of Whoever, we took a walk along the ramparts as we headed to the Cardo – Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter and the Kotel.
At the Kotel we went first to the Archaeological Museum by Robinson’s Arch prior to actually entering the Kotel Plaza. Liron (the blond dude below) called up his parents who got online and saw him waving via the Kotel Cam. Neat! Some of our trippers, without any prodding from me, accepted offers to put on Teffilin from the Chabad table, while others simply meditated and/prayed by the Kotel. It was, as it always is, a moving experience.
As an added bonus, we got to see a Nahal Brigade practice for their IDF induction ceremony that was going to take place that evening. Oh! Who is that goofy looking guy second from the left? Why that’s Meier – a lone soldier who seems to have moved into my apartment! Congrats Meier, I can’t believe they’re giving you a gun… As an added bonus, this will probably be the very last time you’ll see these soldiers looking so, uh… kempt. Israeli soldiers don’t have time for decorum and fancy uniforms.
Afterwards we did the usual shopping in the Old City, visiting King David’s Grave (where King David is definitely not buried) and a small, but touching Holocaust Museum. Things were running late so we missed going to the Shuk – Jerusalem’s Central Market, but hopefully when our trip participants return to Israel on their own, they’ll go there and shop for veggies. Or hummus. Or something.