Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tunnels in the Old City

We are in a place with no wifi- so while visiting Jody's old kibbutz we are borrowing a friends wifi- we probably won't be back on line until Thursday night- stay tuned!

Mike: Easter Sunday in the Old City in Jerusalem. Despite the crowds and the lack of parking, we managed to get to our tour of the tunnels under the western wall. While running to the meeting area, we bumped into our friends Trine & Tedd with their children while on a different tour (it turns out we parked about 100 feet from her father’s house).

The tunnels are recent excavations that Jody and I never saw on our previous tours.

Jody: The tunnels were incredible. The first time I went to the Western Wall in 1985, I couldn’t understand why people were so moved by a wall- I had always thought it was a wall of the actual temple, not a supporting wall. Since then, on all my trips to Israel, I’ve never really ventured down close. What we learned on the tour is that the 2 ancient temples in Jerusalem were built on the “foundation rock”- this is where Jews believe that life began and therefore it’s the most holy place on earth. The Western Wall is the closest place that Jews can get to that rock and that’s why people pray there. The exposed part that we see today is only about ¼ of the entire wall and the rest of the wall that they’ve exposed is still not as deep as the original wall goes. I have to admit that it was pretty powerful seeing it and understanding the significance. I guess I should have paid more attention in Hebrew school!

Mike: After the tour and a quick bite, it was off to the Arab market. It turns out my wife has mad bargaining skills! The market wasn’t as chaotic as I remember, but it was still quite an adventure. We followed our wheeling and dealing to a more sophisticated shopping experience at Mamilla, an outdoor shopping mall near the Jaffa gate in the Old City.

We bid adieu to Jerusalem as the stores started to close for Chag (the holy day for the end of Passover), had a quick visit with old friend Michael Jankelowitz said goodbye to our awesome hosts Tammy, Eitan, and their beautiful daughters, and headed to Tel Aviv for a short overnight stay before our trip up north.

Jody: Michael was my shaliach when I worked at USD/AZYF- my first job out of college promoting Israel on campus. He’s the media spokespoerson for the ‘sochnut’- the Jewish agency. Talk about a networker- he knows everybody!!! He is delighted that I’m once again an Israel activist and was giving me tips on how to do my job.

 Tour of the tunnels
 Model of ancient temple
 In the tunnel

 Trine & Mia in the temple
 Craziness in the old city
 Black hat

 Arab market

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