Thursday 24 October 2013

Israel Houseparty part 7

The Temple Mount complex
On our final full day in Israel there was an early start (apart from for a few who had been ill in the night).  The group gathered together and walked down to the Western Wall (also known as the wailing wall) and queued to go up the walkway to the top of Temple mount.  Thankfully the wait was not long, and during this time Roger had a very lengthy conversation with some Israeli soldiers about football - one of them was a Manchester United fan.  This was the friendliest chat he'd ever managed to have with soldiers!
Al-Aqsa Mosque

The group spent some time on top of Temple mount looking at the amazingly ornate Dome of the Rock and the less ornate but 3rd most holy Muslim site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Afterwards the group went down beneath Temple Mount into the underground excavations of the Western Wall.  They were escorted by an orthodox Israeli lady who was very theatrical.  She asked to hear the group sing, and naturally Roger took the opportunity not to be gentle, and they sang 'On Jesus the Rock I will build my life' and 'Rock of Ages'!  Sahar, our guide, asked her if she knew that Yeshua was the Messiah.  She didn't answer!

The Western Wall
Later Sahar led everyone to the Western Wall.  Everyone is allowed to go right up to the wall, although it is segregated into men and women.  The men have to cover their heads with a Kippa.  It was a very busy day at the wall with lots of Bar Mitzvah celebrations in full swing.

From the Western Wall the group were shown around the excavations to the south of Temple Mount.  These are incredibly fascinating, and contain a huge amount of Second Temple era artifacts.
The Seder Meal

In the evening we celebrated a Seder meal together.  A Messianic Jew and his wife led us in the special ritual, and we were fed some lovely food.  It was the first time they had led the meal for Shoresh, and they did a great job.  It was a fantastic way to round off our Israel Houseparty together.

Later that night in the early hours of the morning half of the party travelled home.  It was an interesting journey as we missed our connection at Paris, but everyone finally made it home safe and sound.

The whole group (almost all!)
A Bar Mitzvah
Roger chatting to the Israeli Soldiers
Dome of the Rock
Geoff sporting his Kippa
The Seder meal

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