Two Days in Jerusalem

We spent the first two days visiting the many sacred sites in Jerusalem. The first day focused on the Jewish Quarter.

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Students look at a model of Jerusalem and surrounding areas in the Davidson Center.

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A student asks a question about an ancient Jewish ritual bath, or mikvah. 

We focused particularly on the Western Wall and recent excavations and discoveries around the Western Wall – often known as the Wailing Wall. These days, Jews around the world celebrate Hanukkah, and nowhere is it commemorated as in Jerusalem. Last evening we were able to spend significant time at the Western Wall, approaching the wall to pray, stand quietly in remembrance or simply experience the awesome communal expression of joy and hope by the Jewish pilgrims – men, women, children, families, young and old – as they prayed, sang and danced in the square in from the the Western Wall.

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A gold menorah in the Jewish Quarter.

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The Western Wall of the Temple Mount.

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The Western Wall

Today, we focused on the Christian sites in and around Jerusalem. The day started with a lecture by Father Peter DuBrul, SJ who is on the faculty at Bethlehem University. He gave us some deep insights into the mind and heart of Jesus and Jesus’ relationship to this holy city. The day proceeded by following the path of Jesus from the Mount of Olives, through the Garden of Gethsemane, the Kidron Valley, the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) and finally to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the traditional site of the death and burial of Jesus. Again, we entered this shrine with a sense of awe and wonder knowing the Christians have been coming here to pray for nearly two thousand years.

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A view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.

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The Garden of Gethsemane.

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The Church of All Nations, next to the Garden of Gethsemane.

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The Church of All Nations.

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The Via Dolorosa, or “The Way of Suffering.”

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Students walking along the Via Dolorosa

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The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

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The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

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Students light candles at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Tomorrow we spend the whole day in Bethlehem. Updates will follow tomorrow.

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