We woke up today feeling far more refreshed and ready to spend the full day out and about, whereas we had been up for about 36 hours yesterday. Once we filled up on a delicious Israeli breakfast, we got on the bus and went for a walking tour around the Old City. We discussed the history of Jerusalem with a demonstration of stacked hats, much to the interest of the nearby tourists. IMG_6345 After that, we visited King David’s tomb and the room where the Last Supper was supposed to take place. Nimi discussed the significance of all these holy sites and how so many religions had been involved in one parcel of land, and also how the three Abrahamic religions tie together. We then began our tour of the Western Wall.  The first area we went to was the egalitarian sector of the wall, where men and women can pray and worship together. We chanted the Shehecheyanu, the Shema, and Mi Chamocha. Then we went and put our wishes into the wall, had Kiddush, and walked back up to take a quick break from exploring our own traditions to take a dive into something we’re less familiar with. IMG_6367 Visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was an interesting experience for all of us, as it was where Jesus was buried. His mausoleum was very elaborate and beautiful, and it was insightful to not just look at our own faith, but also into the faiths of others. IMG_6349 At this point we went to visit the more famous area of the Western Wall. The men and women separated and placed their prayers into the wall. We were all very tired once lunch came around after taking ~6000 steps. Next we headed back into the Kotel plaza to explore the elaborate system of tunnels beneath the wall. These tunnels gave us a better perspective as to how the wall was constructed and how the city of Jerusalem was built. IMG_6388 After all of this, we were very eager to come back to the Hotel and enjoy an hour of free time. We grabbed dinner, and then had guest speakers come to talk to us at our hotel. Three members of the Gesher institute with varying political and religious opinions came to talk with us about the role Judaism plays in shaping Israel as a country and its culture as a whole. It was a fascinating discussion, intertwined with audience interjections and fiery arguments between the speakers. IMG_6395 As Hesh’s birthday was today, we celebrated with some Israeli snacks that Lexi brought us, and then went to bed.
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