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Photos from the Western Wall

20 Feb

What a difference a week makes.

Last week winter pulled out all the stops: freezing temperatures and hail enveloped Jerusalem, while the north of Israel experienced large snow falls – the latter naturally causing much excitement throughout the land.

This week, however, normal service resumed with near 30°C temperatures accompanying the wonderfully sunny days. On days like these, moving here to Israel really does make so much more sense.

This great weather is all so reminiscence of the lovely weather that held sway over the land back in early January. Fortunately it coincided with my Mum’s first ever visit to Israel. Armed with her prized new camera she managed to capture her first impressions of this perplexing country through loads of lovely photos. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I’ll post some of my favourite photos from our trips to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, The Dead Sea, Nazareth and Haifa.

For starters here’s her take on Judaism’s #1 religious site, The Western Wall. As the name suggests it literally is just a very large stone wall – it’s holiness derived from it being the only remaining section of the Second Temple, destroyed in AD 70. The Second Temple is no more having succumbed to the same fate as the First Temple – destruction by the latest conquerors of the Holy Land, in the this case by the Romans. Nowadays the large plaza in front of Western Hall plays host to large religious gatherings and national celebrations.

The Western Wall and Plaza

A prayer at the wall

The Western Wall up close.

Bar Mitzvah celebrations.

Because of the strict male-female divide in conservative Judaism, female relatives are forced to follow the Bar Mitzvah proceedings from behind a dividing fence.

Here you can clearly see the how the wall is divided into a men's section (left-hand side), and a woman's section (right-hand side). Note the difference in space...? That's conservative Judaism for you.

Overview of the the Western Wall with the Dome of the Rock in the background (one of Islam's most holy sites). Conveniently enough the Dome of the Rock stands on the same site Jews claim as the site of their original Holy Temple. The proximity of these holy sites to one another is a significant source of Jewish-Muslim tension here in Jerusalem... if not the the whole of the Middle East.

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3 Comments

Posted by on February 20, 2010 in Jerusalem, Jewish Life, Travelling in Israel

 

Tags: , , , ,

3 responses to “Photos from the Western Wall

  1. sofi

    February 22, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I am really enjoying this! You write so well and I learn loads of new things everytime. Thanks 🙂
    the pics are really good too btw. esp. the one about female-male divide are pretty striking!

     
    • thomassh21

      February 23, 2010 at 9:28 pm

      Thanks for the comments. Glad you’re enjoying it. More importantly we enjoy living here, despite all the difficulties that you could expect from moving to a new country: new language, visa issues etc, etc. Not to mention all the dumb-founding politics and policies of this country.

       

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