Thursday, September 16, 2010
Last Thursday we went on a night tour of Jerusalem. Since it was the night before Yom Kippur, it was called a Slichot tour (and “slicha” means sorry), because of all the people in the old city to atone. The walking around the city was very cool, although our tour guide was not very good. The tour was too long, and we all very tired, since it didn’t start until about 10pm. We didn’t get to go down to the Wailing Wall because of the huge throngs of people – it looked like those pictures of Mecca, when the center is completely filled with a swirling mass of people. (Pictures up on facebook soon.) But don’t worry, I am definitely planning on going back and going to the wall at some point, because I am certainly not going to leave Israel without being there.
It was certainly weird being in the Old City, and being in Jerusalem in general. In Tel Aviv, the conflict seems like more of a political issue, but in Jerusalem you are confronted with the religious reality. The biggest building in the Old City skyline is a church. The entrance into the walls is riddled with bullet holes. The religious conflict is overwhelming, and I don’t really understand how people can see it as a completely holy space. I find nothing holy in hate, war, violence or fear, and Jerusalem is filled with all of those things. It also didn’t help that our tour guide was completely pro-Israel the entire way, and made no effort to provide another side to anything he was saying. We’ll see how I feel after having actually been to the Wall.