Tour Rewind: Entering the Holy City

Temple Mount at night

There is something special about entering Jerusalem for the first time. Often, tour groups arrive in the late afternoon or early evening, following a tour day en route. In that case, Temple Mount is lit up and the golden-capped Dome of the Rock glistens. Though that dome is a Muslim icon, the deep meaning of that geographical location is rarely lost in the Christian mind. This is Mt Moriah, where Abraham offered Isaac and where two previous Jewish temples have stood.

Beyond the geography, though, the overwhelming sense of “being home” often overcomes Christian pilgrims. It can be an emotional experience. We entered in reverence and took in city sights as our bus lumbered toward the Grand Court Hotel, our home for the next three days, and only a short distance from the walls of the Old City.

It is often said, the most dangerous things about going to Israel are driving to your hometown airport, and overeating! At Israeli hotels, breakfast and dinner are typically included, and eating is buffet-style. Whether breakfast or dinner, there is no lack of choices, and the buffet is filled with fresh fruits and veggies, as well as Israeli olives (many varieties) and fresh fish (yes, even at breakfast!) Here’s a glimpse:

If that’s not enough, one can go to Mahane Yehuda (or any other market) to find virtually any Israeli food under the sun!

Now, ready for a little bonus material!?! Jews love to have a good time, and there is no more festive occasion than Hanukkah. No, it was not Hanukkah while our tour group was in Israel, but it is coming up soon! The 8-day celebration aligns with Christmas this year, as it begins at sundown on December 22. However, I was there a few years ago for the beginning of Hanukkah and it provided a fun peek at the fun-loving nature of Israelis! I’ll end with this, but come back tomorrow as we rewind to some of the sights we saw in Jerusalem. Shalom!

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