5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 6 Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy. –Psalms 137
Quite awhile ago Kelsey and I spent a really wonderful day exploring the Old City in Jerusalem. Our hostel was just a brief walk away from the Jaffa Gate, so it was easy to get there. On Birthright you are always rushing around so much and both of us were eager to return and truly explore the wonders of the Old City.
We took a walk through the Christian Quarter. It is full of these winding, tunnel-like areas, all filled with shops. The Arabs there sell all kinds of colorful, wonderful goods. The aisles are lined with scarves, art, trinkets, jewelry, etc. I had quite the time doing my best to be funny and charming in order to bargain for some good prices. I think those shopkeepers underestimated this little American girl!
After weaving our way through, we headed for the Jewish Quarter, and more specifically the Kotel. The Kotel, also called the Western or Wailing Wall, is one of the retaining walls from the 2nd Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. It is the holiest place in the world for the Jewish people. I have to say, being at the Kotel is a truly divine experience. It is this thing that I've seen pictures of and spoken about so much, but being there is something unexplainable. You are there with all of these other people and you feel something very powerful, knowing that these people are also feeling something very powerful. Touching the stones, praying, and being in the center of the Jewish people literally brought me to tears. It is honestly like no other feeling. This is a special place I hope to have the opportunity to return to many more times in my life.
Overall, the Old City of Jerusalem is a really unique and interesting place. Ancient and modern, and literally 3 religions, all converge in this one place on Earth. Where else can you see ultra-religious Jews, Muslims, and Christians walking the same cobblestoned streets as a girl like me, all while cars weave through the narrow buildings? The answer is nowhere.