Friday, May 10, 2013

Shabbat at the Wall

Well, I just had a pretty unique experience. We went to the Western Wall for the beginning of the Sabbath (Friday night). The Western Wall is all Jews have left of their temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. 

The Western Wall wasn’t actually part of the temple. It was part of the retaining wall of the temple complex. The Dome of the Rock, a Muslim holy site, is now on the same spot where the Jewish temple once stood. Since the wall is as close as Jews can get to their former temple, it is considered the holiest place in Judaism.

Taking pictures is forbidden once Shabbat starts, so I found a few online to illustrate what we experienced. 

It was pretty crowded. It’s not usually that crowded during the rest of the week. I will definitely go back sometime and take some of my own pictures. The coolest part was that everyone was so happy to be there! There are separate areas for men and women, and the men’s side was especially a celebration. Everyone was singing and dancing.

Here's a picture from a normal day; it's not so much of a party and not nearly as crowded. You can see the separate sides. Sometimes women stand on chairs to check out what's happening on the men's side. We did that to watch the dancing!

The tradition is to write down a prayer and stick it inside a crack in the wall. I didn't do that yet, but I might on another trip. I did manage to get close enough to touch to wall.

Another tradition to never turn your back on the wall. Most people walk backwards away from it. 

Being there was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done in my travels. It's hard to convey the atmosphere there in words.

Yesterday we walked around in West Jerusalem, the Jewish side of town. They have a long row of these globes near Mamilla Mall.

Hello Wisconsin!

Hello Israel!

We just walked around and looked at some shops. I still haven’t done any shopping yet. I’m scoping everything out first! There are so many souvenir opportunities.

Our professors really pile on the homework here. Some of the classes are really interesting, some are the most boring things I’ve ever sat through. Either way, I’m not really in a homework state of mind. Maybe because I actually graduated way back in December. I’d kind of rather like go see Jerusalem or something....


  1. Hi Marissa! I'm enjoying your posts! How exciting for you to be experiencing Jerusalem by living there for four months! Katie's sister-in-law was on your flight as well. Her name is Sarah King. You might know her or bump into her along the way. Thank you for all the interesting pics and commentaries. I'll be watching!! Hugs to you! Jean Kilby

    1. Yes, I've met her! The first time I talked to her we already figured that out. Such a coincidence :)

  2. Cute pictures, Rissy! I hope you get to stick a prayer in the wall next time! Sounds like a tradition! Tradition! (do you find yourself singing random Fiddler on the Roof songs out there?)