Monday, August 29, 2011

Night Tour of the Old City

I took this tour way back on August 8th which was Tisha B'av. I wrote about this holiday last year. If you want to refresh your memory you can read about it here. We visited a lot of the same places as the tour last year but I enjoyed having a different guide explain things.

We visited the Holy Sepulchre. Just before we got there the guide stopped us and pointed to a gate. The gate lead to the mosque of Omar. During a siege of Jerusalem in which Omar's army captured Jerusalem, Caliph Omar came to accept the surrender of the city. Omar was invited to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre but he refused. He did not want to endanger the Christian site because everywhere he prayed would be turned into a mosque. I found this story interesting because of the sensitivity it shows for other religions. One of the other students asked a very interesting question at this point. "If the Muslims respected other faith traditions, Why did they build the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount?" The answer is because at the time there was nothing but ruins on the Temple Mount it was being used as a garbage dump. So building the Dome of the Rock there was seen as honoring the holiness of the site.

Several pictures I took on this tour are almost the same as last years.  This is one of the alleyways of the Old City. I think it would be rather creepy to walk these streets alone at night.

Here we have the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall.

Here we have a replica of the menorah used in the Temple. It is not an exact replica because we don't have enough evidence to be certain. This menorah is made of a mixture of gold and zinc where as the Bible says the menorah must be made of pure gold. However pure gold won't hold its shape so we have no idea how they made them. They light this one during Hanukkah.

This is the door to one of the many Yeshivas in town. A Yeshiva is a place where Jewish men go to study the scriptures. You can read more about Yeshiva here. The picture is at a strange angle because there was a streetlight there if I took the picture lined up properly the door was a huge glare. I think this door is beautiful.

From the last post:
Uncle Joe- The cats do come in the buildings and sleep on the benches sometimes.  I am not sure if they do low budget horror films here. I have limited exposure to Israeli cinema. We have watched a few films in my modern Hebrew classes.
As for correcting wikipedia there is a Hebrew version of wiki so native Hebrew speakers might not look up Tel Aviv on the English site to see the mistake.

1 comment:

  1. Your pictures are so beautiful of the Night Tour. I appreciate the research you've done to simplify the history and tell the significance and story behind each picture. I experienced deep emotions when reading the true reason for the Dome of the Rock being built on the Temple Mount which was the Muslims honoring the Holy Site for what it had been and to protect. The Western Wall and The Dome of the Rock are a stunning sights when seen at night. Wow! I totally agree the Yeshiva door is beautiful and full of history. I enjoyed seeing everything through your eyes on Tisha B'av. The way you explain the history of this beautiful city of Jerusalem brings the Bible alive for me.