Many years ago, our mom wanted to go to Israel to visit our heritage but it never came to fruition.  When she passed away Karen and Linda decided to take the trip in her honor. We joined a group as we felt it would be beneficial to travel with educated leaders to understand the small but vast country loaded with history.  

When we joined we were asked, “Did you know this is a Christian group and you are Jewish”? My answer was….”and the history would change how?”. We had 2 Christian ministers traveling with us, which greatly benefited our religious understanding of our trip. They in turn asked for our opinions as Jews to the stories we learned.

So off we went. Our journey took us directly to Jerusalem.  We were on a 7 day adventure to try to experience as much as possible from the City of Jerusalem.

Day One Took Us To The Old City Of Jerusalem And The Western Wall (or as we know it: The Wailing Wall)

My Mom wanted to have my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah in Israel but it didn’t work out.  32 years later I was in Israel on my granddaughter’s 13th birthday, Jan 15th,  so in my heart I had a pray for her at the Wailing Wall to keep her great grandmother’s wish!  A daughter of a daughter of a daughter of a Jewish mother was Bat Mitzvah in Israel.

Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was initially completed in 691–92 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik during the Second Fitnaon the site of the Second Jewish Temple, destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The original dome collapsed in 1015 and was rebuilt in 1022–23. The Dome of the Rock is in its core one of the oldest extant works of Islamic architecture.

While visiting the Old City, we were told it was “not safe” and to watch our step. Later the next day we were all talking about the wonderful evening they spent in the Old City. Karen and I did not go as it was “unsafe”. What was meant, the cobblestone streets were difficult to walk on, so that was “unsafe”.

The list of places we visited were many and so touching to follow the history of Jesus and this wonderful county born shortly after we were born, in 1948.  Very interesting articles about the birth of Israel.

We walked the Steps of Jesus, follow our path!

Jerusalem Surrounded by ancient walls, the Old City is home to holy sites such as the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which dates to the 4th century. Shops and markets selling prayer shawls, rosaries, and ceramics fill busy alleys, while food stalls serve falafel, pita, and fresh-squeezed juice. In a medieval citadel, the Tower of David museum chronicles the city’s history.

We were invited to get Baptized in The River Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus, but of course we did not. 

The Jordan River flows through the Jordan Rift Valley into the Kinneret and then continues down into the Dead Sea with no outlet. It is a place of many important biblical events.  The river holds major significance in Judaism and Christianity since the Bible says that the Israelites crossed it into the Promised Land and that Jesus of Nazareth was baptized by John the Baptist in it.  

We experienced sailing on the Galilee River. We visited the sight of the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls which were found the year we were born (1947)! Image result for GALILEE

Another interesting story: Some travelers of our group visited the Israel Museum while we were visiting our places.  They said they visited for about 1 hour or so.  Well, Karen and Linda went on our own and stayed over 4 hours.  The only reason we left is because our legs were tired. It is one of the most amazing museums we have ever seen.  It has one of the most beautiful exhibits of Jewish Synagogues of the world. There is a Greek section and Egyptian area.  We could of stayed for days.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a church in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The church contains, according to traditions dating back to at least the fourth century, the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus was crucified.

We took the trolley to the top of the MasadaMasada is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Israel. 

This may have been one of the highlights of our visit, to understand how something like this was built so many centuries ago. We swam in the Dead Sea, or at least tried, Karen could but I float too much.  

The Via Dolorosa - is a processional route in the Old City of Jerusalem, believed to be the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. The winding route from the former Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — a distance of about 600 metres — is a celebrated place of Christian pilgrimage. The current route has been established since the 18th century, replacing various earlier versions. It is today marked by nine Stations of the Cross; there have been fourteen stations since the late 15th century, with the remaining five stations being inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Lions’ Gate is a gate in the walls of Old City in Jerusalem. It is one of seven open gates in the Old City Walls. Carved into the wall above the gate are four lions, two on the left and two on the right. He was spared only after promising to protect the city by building a wall around it. This led to the lion becoming the heraldic symbol of Jerusalem. Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

To learn and see more of Israel enjoy this YouTube video.  It is geared towards Christians, but as a Jewish woman, I found this extremely fascinating.  

There is also a cool TV show called Expedition Unknown (Season 7, Episode 1) that focuses on the Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. You can find it here

Pictures from our journey