Jerusalem – Wednesday November 26th 2014 – Time: 10:32
We reached the Old City through Jaffa Gate to start walking in typical alleys with cobblestone on the ground and filled of shops on both sides, I realized that we have arrived to the Market. At least, I counted 3 different markets, Jewish, Muslim and Christian.
Lots of shops with souvenirs, although many other with spices, fabrics, art, religious products or wood products. I’m sure if I had more time to nose around I would have found something interesting to take as a souvenir, but something more interesting approached.
I followed the group up to the top of stairs where our guide, Tiki, was standing up and making some room for telling us what happened in this place.
This is the famous Western Wall, said Tiki, the most important Jewish holy place. We were in a place with so much meaning for the Jewish community since 2000 years ago that it was hard not to get excited. From the the top of the stairs, we had a perfect view of the wall and the Dome of the Rock.
Dome of the Rock is the center of the Temple Mount and sacred to both Jews and Muslims. It is characterized by its golden dome which contains the large foundation stone, which is the center of the earth to Jews and the place where Mohammed made his ascent for Muslims. Currently only Muslims have access to the interior of the dome. Therefore, the Jewish community prays at Western Wall as it is the closest area to the Dome where the Jewish community have allowed access.
After taking some photos, men in the group had access to a room next to the Western Wall where people were studying the Torah, the holy book of Judaism and where their bases and foundations are collected. All young people should know this text to make his bar mitzvah ceremony where children reach their personal maturity and are already accountable. Tiki told us that during Shabbat (Saturdays) and Mondays/Thursdays morning is very common to see groups of families celebrating bar mitzvahs in front of the wall. This place is a covered part of the Western Wall where access is exclusive for men.
The Western Wall is like a big synagogue outdoors, where women have an exclusive space for praying, while men have their own reserved space. For approaching the Wall, men must wear the Kipah kind of hat that covers your head partially; while women should dress modestly. The tradition in this place, and of course all the group did, is writing your desires on a piece of paper and leave it in the Wall. You can find paper, pen and Kipahs before getting to the Wall. At men side were on your left side just before the fence.
After writing my wishes on a piece of paper and try to keep the Kipah on my head I was standing in front the Wall. I felt sadness, peace, joy, cold… Many feelings at once making me think about all the people who have been here since it was built. I wrote my desires and left them as a part of the group of millions which were already in the Wall.