We are a bit behind on our blogging, so this post will summarize our stay in Jerusalem and the rest of our time in Israel.
Jerusalem is a fascinating place. Of course, it has great significance to three of the world’s major religions, but Jerusalem is also a place where ancient history and modern tensions meet. We spent more than a week in Jerusalem and saw many religious and historical sites, as well as taking a side trip to the Dead Sea.
Jerusalem is arguably the most important city in both Christianity and Judaism, as well as an very important religious site in Islam. From the Jewish perspective, we visited the Western Wall and the King David Museum, here are some pictures.
The Christian sites in the city are many, but we were able to see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (where Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried) and the Garden Tomb (where most Protestants locate the burial). We also saw the Cenacle, which is the room where the Last Supper took place. Some pictures follow.
And for my Muslim friends and readers, here is the Dome of the Rock which commemorates the Prophet Mohammed’s night journey to Jerusalem on the Buraq.
We also took a day trip to the Dead Sea and to hike in the area where King David hid in the wilderness to escape King Saul (check your Old Testament and/or Haftorah for more info on that). The Dead Sea is crazy. If you ever get the chance, go there! It is just like the pictures, you really can float with all of your hands, feet and head out of the water at the same time. You can’t quite walk on the water, but it feels close to that!
After all of the religious symbolism of Jerusalem, we spent a few days in the “very secular” city of Tel Aviv to close out our time in Israel. We celebrated Passover there (it wasn’t quite “next year in Jerusalem” but it was close). I will just post one picture from Tel Aviv. This is the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, which will shortly be moving to Jerusalem.
The embassy move is part of the story of the conflict that remains in Israel and the challenge of trying to find peace in a very, very, difficult place and time.