The Temple Mount area
Sunday, March 18, Reported by Joan Nysather
It is amazing how the wall has survived the ravages of time and war. So many worshipers, both the old and the young standing or kneeling at the wall, all taking their prayer time very seriously. We saw petitions fitted into the crevices of the wall from worshippers hoping to have special prayers answered. We learned that many come from all over the world to celebrate special events in their lives at this significant place. Such as young people and their bar mitzvahs or couples wishing to be married. I was put off somewhat by the beggars on the women's side that approached us as we walked up to the wall to pray. I thought they could have stayed back behind the praying portion.
The Western Wall Tunnels were deep and dark. It's almost impossible to believe how much has been excavated and how much they still want to do. I think it was said there were seven layers above and eighteen layers below the present ground level. Awesome! As we walked under Wilson's Arch and along the Western Wall, we were no doubt walking on the street where Jesus was led from Caiaphas's house to the Antonia fortress for judgement.
We exited through the Hasmonean water tunnel onto the Via Dolorosa and made our way past several of the Stations of the Cross. Although one would expect this to be a very holy part of Jerusalem, I was disappointed in the absence of any holy aura. The street was filled rather with merchants and other people hustling all sorts of goods.
A very special and meaningful event of the day was ascending the steps of the South Wall while Psalm 122 was being read, a reference to ascending to the" House of the Lord". Jesus probably preached on these steps and this may be where Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41) when three thousand were converted and baptized. In Jesus's time the Wall was sixteen stories high at the Southwest Corner where the Rabbi would sound the trumpet at the beginning and the end of the Sabbath. So very many incredible things to think about it's mind boggling.
The museum Yad Vashem serves as a memorial to the six million Jewish people who perished in the Nazi Holocaust. It opened in 1957, and is still a work in progress. We were told that it's the most extensive and important museum of its kind in the world. Our brief visit there left a lot to be absorbed in a very short amount of time. We barely scratched the surface of the many exhibits, photographs, art work of the actual camp participants, and official documents and records. There was a room filled with names of all the known occupants of the various camps. But the most impressive part for me was the Children's Memorial dedicated to the half-million Jewish children who perished. It contained a light and mirrors. One candle reflected thousands of times showing how the children would have prospered, and while standing there, viewing the display, the names of the children were being read. The museum was difficult to visit, but one that left a lasting impression and will be thought about and long remembered.
Sunday evening we all attended an inspiring and uplifting church service at the King of Kings Assembly which conveniently met in the auditorium of our YMCA hotel. Another wonderful and rewarding day in Jerusalem.
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