Israel: Day 7
We made it to Jerusalem today.
After waking up in the North we headed south, stopping along the way at a living museum of the Bible called Neot Kedumim. Students got a chance to practice drawing water from a well, grinding their own Hissop into Zatar, and tasting some of the local flowers. But perhaps the best highlight was that each student got a chance to shepherd some sheep. As they found, this is not easy. You have to be both firm and gentile, you have to lead them but can’t stand in front. Some of our student were wonderful, others had a big learning curve.
Then after lunch we headed up to Jerusalem. We begin at a lookout on Mount Scopus talking about the different parts of the Temple Mount and saying a prayer together. Then we headed into the city. We started at the Davidson Center where we learned about Temple times, saw an arch from the Roman period and spent some time at the Southern Wall. Students practiced walking up the uneven stairs as we talked about how they were constructed to encourage mindfulness.
Afterwards we headed to the Kotel. We actually had two experiences at the Western Wall. The first was at the split-gendered section of the wall. We went our separate ways. Marc took the boys into a back area where he showed them the Jewish bookshelf including the Talmud and many chose to put on Tefillin. All our students placed notes in the wall. Then we joined back together and went to the egalitarian section where we prayed together. We spent a lot of time debriefing the experiences and talking about which felt more spiritual, the bustling split-gendered section or the quiet, tucked away egalitarian one.
At this point we had to go check into the hotel but we will be coming back to the Jewish quarter and finishing it on Saturday.
We spent the night on Ben Yehudah street where students had dinner and got much of their shopping done. Expect a lot of Judaica.
Tomorrow we head to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum) and a number of other important Jerusalem sites.