February 17, 2015

Day 7 in Israel: the old city, shrine of the book and Yad Vashem

Greetings Friends,

Today was a fun day filled with some new experiences for me here in Israel. Unfortunately I'm still not feeling my best but I was able to complete the full itinerary today in spite of it.

We began our day back at the Western Wall at 7:30am. It was great to pray again at this amazing spot as the sun rose above Jerusalem. This time we went down into the Western Wall tunnels, where we could see more of Herod's 1st century Temple Mount and excavations that are still taking place, it was super cool to be underneath the current city and in the midst of so much rich history!

We went from there to the Israel Museum where they have a giant replica of Jeruslaem during the time of Jesus. It was great to walk around it and have all of the sites we've visited in the last few days come together into a visual picture of the city during the time of Jesus. Here at this museum is also stored the portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the longest one found, the entire book of Isaiah. It was so cool to see the tiny Hebrew Text and be able to read it. I found myself with a deepened appreciation for the commitment those people had to copying the Scriptures and the contribution this finding has had on biblical scholarship.

After lunch in the old city we visited the temple institute where you can see life sized replicas of items used in the temple during the Old Testament period. Very cool visual once again.

We finished our day at "Yad Vashem" or the "Hall of Names" which is the holocaust museum here in Jerusalem. It is a powerful and overwhelming thing to take in. I found myself reflecting on what I would have done in the face of such evil and suffering and asked for strength to stand with the marginalized and oppressed of our day and time.

Each evening our group has taken time to share our favorite moments from the day and some devotional thoughts. It's been a great chance to get to know people in our group and process the days events through someone else's eyes. This is a transformative place and none of us are the same people we were when we got off the plane last week. God has used this experience to deepen our faith and broaden the depth of understanding we have about this important part of the world.

Tomorrow is a 'free day'. There are no sights or guided visits planned. We are going to sleep in and do some walking around in the old city and finish our shopping. I'm hoping to see some of the sites I missed yesterday and pick up a few more gifts for the kids;)

Until tomorrow!


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