|Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. Wikimedia Commons.|
Two buses dropped our two classes off at the Dung Gate, through which we walked to enter the Jewish Quarter. We then split up, with my class first going to the Wohl Museum and Steve Harper's class going to the Burnt House Museum. Both of these exhibit the remains of palatial residences on the Upper City, which was the quarter of the rich and powerful at the time of Jesus. They reflected the life of the privileged groups but also testified of the terrible destruction that occurred when the Romans took the city in A.D. 70.
Before and after we saw evidence of destruction of a different kind and period. The Wohl Museum entrance is off of the Hurva Plaza. The Hurva was the main Ashkenazi Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter until the Jordanians seized it in 1948 and subsequently destroyed it and many other Jewish synagogues. While the Hurva has been recently rebuilt, we looked at the ruins of the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue, which has been the center of Hassidic worship in the Old City.
|This is for Sister Skinner Senior|
|Ruins of the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue|
|Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock|
|The gray dome of the Al Aqsa Mosque rises above|
|I was happy to have Elaine come on the field trip with me today.|
|The Herodian Street that ran along the base of the Temple Mount|
|A miqveh or ritual bath; impure entered on one side, the purified emerged on the other|
|The spring stones of Robinson Arch in the upper left were the beginning of a massive arch that supported a stair case leading up to the Temple Mount.|
|A diagram illustrating how Robinson's Arch functioned|
|Massive stones toppled off of the mount ins fulfillment of the prophecy of Mark 13:2.|
|Elaine standing on the threshhold of the Huldah Gate. First century pilgrims, including Jesus would have stepped on this very stone! See John 8:59 for Jesus' meeting the blind man as he exited the temple.|
|The Triple Gate, now blocked, was the entry for pilgrims|
|Diagram illustrating the Double and Triple Huldah Gates. The Mishnah, "they entered from the right and exited to the left" (m. Mid. 2.2).|
Elaine and I spent much of the rest of the afternoon wandering the Christian Quarter of the Old City searching for a phantom Christmas store that we heard was there. We had hoped to get a small Christmas tree and some decorations, but perhaps because it was Sunday, most of the shops were tightly shuttered. We did notice that Christmas lights had been strung over some of the streets, which made us happy.
Speaking of Christmas, tonight was the First Sunday of Advent, which gave us a chance to begin to focus as a family on what the season is really about. Samuel is particularly very into decorating and talking about Christmas, and observing this familiar custom was reassuring to him. We set out our new olive wood Nativity set and finished trimming our homemade wreath and candles. Samuel, who hardly sang at the branch primary program yesterday at church, sang along heartily to "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," which brings tears to our eyes. He loves Christmas carols, and we treasure hearing his sweet voice.