Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Trip to Israel, Day 8

Wednesday, day 8

Today was Jerusalem Day!
We got a tour of the City of David, a walled section of Yerushalayim where Dovid HaMelech built his palace and city, near the Temple Mount. We saw a video about the histroy of the area, and we went into the tunnels used to channel water into the walled city. The tunnels were dark, narrow, low, and filled with water sometimes up to our hips. It was a lot of fun, and we sang niggunim for most of the time.
Afterward, we went to the archaeological park, where we saw the Southern Wall excavations, and a cool urban simulation of the area during Beis Hamikdash times. It was incredible to stand on the steps outside the Sha'ar Chuldah, on the very same steps that thousands of Yidden enterd the Har HaBayis on, 2,000 years ago.
Then we went to Ammunition Hill, which was an important stronghold of Jordanians that the IDF finally captured in the War of '67. We saw a video there, too.
Then we went to the menorah outside the Knesset Building. The giant menora was a gift from Britain. We didn't go inside the Knesset, but we saw it from behind the gate and glass walls. We all spat in front of it, since we davvened mincha near the menorah (we spit at a part of Aleinu).
For dinner we went out to Korus Al HaEish, at Center 1 mall.
After dinner, we were given a lecture by Michael Lawrence, and eight year Oleh from South Africa who tried to inform us of the dangers Israel faces, and the controversy over Israel's policy of returning prisoners to bring back kidnapped soldiers.
And then- Ben Yehuda Street! When we got off the bus, this young guy came over and offered us free shots and hooka at his bar. It turned out that you needed to buy a really expensive drink in order to get the deal. I saw Cafe Rimon and Frozen Yogurt. I spoke with an Israeli who worked at a grunge/goth store where every article of clothing was black. I watched a minute of a Rebbe video. I tried out a funny handshake with a friend of mine, to applause from the crowd of ice-cream eaters. Too bad we only had one hour.