Mount of Olives to the Lions Gate

October 12, 2018

Mount of Olives

 Since it was the Sabbath, our trusty rental car was locked in the parking lot for the day. We opted to take taxis to the top of the mount of olives to start our day.  It is bizarre that the mound of ours now sits in the middle of fire Palestinian villages. This is because Lebanon controlled this area open till the 1967 six day war where Israel took back the land all the way to the Jordan so the arabs that were living there Stayed and it is now Palestinian.  Don’t get confused Palestinians live there but they are his really citizens and it is under the control of Israel.  

It is an incredible feeling to be standing on the mount of olives looking over Jerusalem in the same way that Jesus did 2000 years Mount of Olivesago.  This is likely the spot where Jesus wept over the city and be moaning the fact that he would have gathered them like a hen gathers her chickens under his wings but they would not have it. From there we walked down into the Kidron Valley to the location that was very likely the garden of Gethsemane. There are olive trees here that are nearly 1000 years old. There is also a very cool church here variously called the church of agony, or the church of all nations,   Like so many of the Franciscan churches rebuilt in the 20th century,  this one was designed by Antonio Baluchi. It was kind of amazing that and use alabaster for the windows so that it would be dark inside because the events from the new testament that occurred in Gethsemane occurred at night. Also  The paintings on ceiling depicted stars it further enhances the impression that you are there at night time .

 The side of the mount of olives is covered with Jewish tombs. This is because they all want to be resurrected first win the Messiah comes. I hated to tell them that the Messiah already came. So we left well enough alone. It is sad to see there’s quite a few tombs were desecrated and smashed by the Lebonese when they were controlling this part of Israel.

Lunch in Jerusalem

We  reached the bottom of the Kidron Valley which runs down the hill between the mount of olives and the city of Jerusalem. We then climbed back up the other side of the valley, and entered through the Lions gate which is they’re on the east wall .   Once inside the city, our next agenda item was lunch. We went to a cafeteria style restaurant with lots of space for large groups. Not surprisingly, that the food was unremarkable. But, on the bright side, we did get another sense of why we didn’t want to do large tours..

Western Wall

So the history behind the western wall is that when Herod the Great  decided to build a temple he always did things in the Roman style and did it withoverkill. He built a huge foundation wall around the temple mount in order to have a foundation for the temple.  This is now wear the mask and the dome of the rock now six. So the western wall is the only area that is completely Jewish and so that is where people write there prayers on paper and tuck them into the wall. There is a men’s and women’s side of the wall and they pray separately.. Jim and I were taken to a small alcove along the wall that is full of books and Jewish religious decoration.  Here there is teaching and praying and you can see a variety of different Sects of Juseaism as evidenced by theit attire.

At some point during our wandering through a Jerusalem. I can’t remember exactly what day. We saw a mickva,Which is a ritual bath the Jews are used to purify themselves when they are ceremonially unclean. Avi made a huge point that this wasn’t related to stand. For example women are ceremonially unclean during their period. This particular bath had steps going in and railing in the middle and steps coming out. So we are assuming it was for one sex only. And they went in on one side and came out on the other so they didn’t accidentally bump someone and make them unclean again.

Israel Museum

 We had  requested a slightly shorter day today, so by the time we got to the museum we were almost sprinting from one exhibition to the next. One of the coolest things since arriving in Israel was the huge model of Jerusalem in Jesus time. After traipsing around Jerusalem modelJerusalem for two days it was nice to see it wrapped together in one Huge, probably 40 or 50 feet, live 3d model  outdoors, right there in the museum  there also copies of the dead sea scrolls that were discovered in Qumran.   These are the oldest existing scrolls on the Old Testament and a number of other Jewish documents.
 There is an old part of the museum that has ancient art work and utensils and pottery from the Canaanites four or 5000 years ago. It is amazing the level of sophistication that they had that long ago. 
 The final part of the museum was the Judaic section. Which has re-constructed complete synagogues from four different ethnic regions around the globe. It’s amazing to see the different flavors of Judaism that thrive in our world. 
I think it drove our guide crazy to have our time cut short. But at 3:45 we had prearranged calling it a day. And we were all very ready.

Rooftop dinner at Notre Dame

 There is an ornate monastery that has been converted into a hotel and there is a well-known restaurant on the top of it. We ate there and had just spectacular food in an elegant setting and while enjoying a view of the old city from this rooftop perch. 
We went to bed that evening with the Reassuring knowledge that we did not have a tour guide for the next day and we could sleep in.



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