We began our adventure at Hezekiah’s Tunnel in the City of David. At first most people were nervous about the small spaces, cold water, and darkness. As we learned about the history of the tunnels and the importance they hold, it became clear that was a special experience for all. The tunnels were created by starting at two different ends and miraculously meeting in the middle. This creation made it easier to find fresh water. As we walked through the chilly water it reminded us that we are so lucky for the clean sources of water we have every day. It gave us a new perspective of the struggle other people experience. Once we made it through the depths of the underground, we climbed back up another pathway. This walk is like the journey people made to reach a special temple on top of a hill. The experience was one that we will always remember. A moment that will most impact all of us was the part when we turned off the flashlights in the tunnels. It showed us that even without our senses we can use each other to guide the way. It was a true bonding moment.
We made our way through the old city and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The most important church for Christian people for it is where Jesus’s tomb lays. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the tomb itself because the lines were crazy long. We still got an idea about the sacred church and what it means for all who travel there. We saw people of all religious backgrounds coming together as one to stand in awe at the beautiful art filling the church. We admired the artwork on the ceiling and the delicate lamps hanging down. We learned about the background of Jesus, which most of us were familiar with, and it was nice to hear in detail.
After, we walked to the Western Wall. It was something we had all seen pictures of but the experience in person was so much more incredible. Some of the other people that were praying there became very emotional, which emphasized the importance of the site for us all. This connected us even more to Judaism and the history of our religion. We all left a slip of paper in the wall with our hopes and desires for ourselves, families, and friends. One of the things that surprised us the most was the division between men and women at the wall. There were two separate sections of the wall for each gender, the one for men being much larger and closer to the holiest place in Israel. On the women’s side, Myriam, Mikah, and Heidi brought us up to the wall one by one, and let us put the paper in. For all of us it was a really moving experience and struck us to feel how much it meant.
Next, we got to meet with a woman who used to be part of the IDF. She briefly explained to us about her experience in the IDF but spent a lot of time talking about her role in the organization Breaking the Silence. Breaking the Silence exposes the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. Later at dinner (Moroccan tonight!), we had a long conversation about Breaking the Silence. Many different people expressed their opinions on the topic which was interesting to hear. Today was a super amazing experience and we cannot wait for day three tomorrow!
- Anna and Nora