Like I said on the previous post, on Dad's second day in Jerusalem we went straight to the Old City. You can only visit the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock in the morning, so we went there first. We had to walk past the Western Wall to get there, so of course Dad had to go touch it!
Who wants to see him wearing a yarmulke?
I love that place! Then we went up to the Temple Mount.
Who wants to see him wearing a yarmulke?
There's a bar mitzvah going on in the background!
After walking around up there we wandered around the streets of the Old City and made it to Shabban's shop. He's one of the shopkeepers in the Old City that caters to BYU students. It was kind of a hangout place. I went there a lot this summer! And surprise, surprise...I ran into some friends there! Such a pleasant surprise to see my friends Kendall and Karlie with their parents :)
We tried to visit the very pretty St. Savior's Church, but it was closed. So me and Dad headed over to the Jewish Quarter. I'd been wanting to do a tour of the Hurva Synagogue, but hadn't been able to yet. We bought tickets and then had to wait for an hour. While I left to go get some food, Dad managed to get swindled for money by an old man. Oops.
The square in front of the Hurva Synagogue is one of my favorite places in Jerusalem. It's a great place to relax and people watch.
The reason I wanted to tour Hurva Synagogue is because of all of the interesting history behind it. In its basement, you can see ruins of Jewish ritual baths (mikvehs) from the 1st century. The first synagogue in this spot was built in the 2nd century by Judah HaNasi. I saw his grave in the Galilee! He's a very important figure in Jewish history.
In 1700, (yeah, I'm glossing over quite a few centuries, whatever) a group of 500 Polish Jews emigrated from Europe with their leader Judah HeHasid. Another Judah! His group built a huge new synagogue on the site. They had to borrow money to pay for it, and weren't able to pay back the Arabs they borrowed it from on time. So the Arabs burned down their brand new synagogue and banned Jews of European descent from living in Jerusalem for a century.
In Hebrew, Hurva means 'ruins' or 'destruction.' So it got it's modern name from the burned down ruins of Judah HeHasid's synagogue. Jews were allowed to rebuild a synagogue on the site in the 1850s. It was the largest and most important synagogue in Palestine. In the 1948 war, Arabs completely destroyed the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. All Jews were forced out of their homes, and the Hurva Synagogue was bombed and purposefully destroyed.
When Israel regained control of the Old City in 1967, they rebuilt the Jewish Quarter. It wasn't until 2000 that they decided to rebuild the Hurva. It was just finished in 2010! So it's a very new building, but it was built with the exact blueprints of the synagogue from the 1850s.
We talked about all of this history on the tour! And more.
Here's the first floor of the synagogue:
For most of the history discussion we sat upstairs in the women's section with this view:
I LOVE this picture, because it's the only one from all of the 24 years that I've been on this earth where I'm the same color as my dad. And I'm sure it will be the last. #momsgenes
The great thing about this tour was that the tour guide could tell that my dad didn't know much about Judaism and Jewish history. There was one other BYU student and his mom on the tour, but everyone else was Jewish. So the tour guide kept joking with him and making fun of him the whole time. It was hilarious. He kept stopping the tour just to ask Dad if he understood. Haha.
After hanging out on the second floor, we went up even higher- to the roof! And the balcony inside the synagogue. Pretty awesome views.
Roofs of the Jewish Quarter:
Stairs leading up to the balcony inside the synagogue:
And great views of the city!
Featuring the BYU Jerusalem Center on the left:
If you can't tell from all of the long paragraphs I wrote about this place, I loved this tour. So glad I finally got to check it off my list.
After the tour we had some lunch and walked around the Old City a little more. We did some shopping and got Mom some earrings for her birthday.
We left the Old City through Damascus Gate so I could show Dad where I came into the city every day all summer.
After some relaxing time at the hotel we went to Malcha Mall for dinner and Zara. It was another place that I didn't get to during the summer. It was a HUGE mall. I absolutely had to go there because so far I've been to Zara, my favorite store, in 6 countries (U.S., France, Monaco, Spain, Austria, Germany). Israel makes 7! Zara needs to give me an award or something.
Dad got to have another experience with kosher food at the food court. Kosher restaurants either serve meat or dairy products, but not both together. So I'm afraid he didn't get a lot of meat this week since I prefer dairy products to meat...
The mall was fun because it wasn't touristy at all. No one tried to speak English to me in the stores.
A big thanks to my dad for going shopping with me! :)
It was a great day, and a trip to Zara made it even more awesome.