The Wailing Wall

The Wailing Wall

Key Details

Country Info: Tripadvisor CIA

Airline: El Al

Hotels:  King David Hotel

Things to do: Supreme Court Blg, Garden Tomb, Wailing Wall, Dome of the Rock, Galilee, Dead Sea.

Currency ex: Shekels to USD


Regardless of the reason you are traveling to Israel: to connect with your religious roots, walk through history, or just looking to Kibbutz–the spirit of the land will speak to you.  My first visit to the Holy Land was made my second year in college.  I went with a group of student leaders.  As a part of the tour we met with families on both sides of the Palestinian conflict.  Both sides were so entrenched.  So convinced that their cause was just.  This passion prohibited them from being open to compromise.   Anyone that makes a black and white judgement call on the situation is missing the complexity.

Despite the conflict, one can’t help but be in constant awe of witnessing living history.  As we were taking the bus out to the Dead Sea, we saw a group of Nomads in tents along the road.  They were tending their animals in the same way as has been done for eons!

One observation that you are keenly aware of once you step foot in Israel is the clear gaping divide between secular and non-secular.  Jerusalem is a holy site for three major world religions.  It is filled with devoted pilgrims of every stripe.  Then you have Tel Aviv.  Outside of Las Vegas, USA, Tel Aviv is one of the most secular cities I have visited.  We were approached by a couple “ladies of the night” selling services.  The night life in Tel Aviv rivals anywhere.

Our tour included stops at the Israeli Supreme Court Building, Masada, the Dead Sea, and other holy sites.  We also visited the Golan Heights, and stayed the night in a small Kibbutz (highly recommended).

The Garden tomb was truly a highlight of my visit.  Just a very peaceful and beautiful spot in Jerusalem.  I don’t claim to know the exact spot where Jesus was entombed, but this is a great place to ponder the question.  There is a small fee to enter the small garden.  I believe that it is run by an Australian Church.

The Dead Sea is just that.  The day were there it was 116 in the shade.    H-o-T! I didn’t pay the cash to slather mud on myself, but I enjoyed spectating.  Masada is also located in the area.  Two ways to the top of the mountain fortress: walking (not recommended) or taking the tram (highly recommended).  Views from the top are incredible.

The Wailing Wall.  One of the site not to be missed.  It is divided into men’s and women’s sections.  Out of respect for the religion and the holy place, you are asked to cover your head.  Cardboard Yamakas are provided.  I have included two pics below the tell the story of why this place is so revered.  In the Pre-roman times, the great temple was the focus of the town.  When the new sheriff came to town aka the Romans, they destroyed the temple.  But not all of the temple.  They left the western wall of the temple standing.   For good reason.  It also happens to be a part of the city wall.  Thus a portion of the temple still stands today.  Worshipers come to the wall and leave prayers written on little strips of paper and place them in the wall.