We were out the door on the bus at 7am headed over to the southwestern motel otherwise known as Robinsonn's Arch. Two women in our congregation Judi and Kathy became bnot mitzvah and read from the Torah,co-officiated with me along with Judy B as cantor and delivered sermons on the Torah portion. It was truly a sacred moment for all of us. I am so proud of them. I cannot say enough.robinson's arch is simply an extension of the western wall. It is blocked by construction at the archaeological site so the orthodox leave it alone. This means girls and women can have their services close enough to the wall without being harassed by the religious police. The officials we worked with gave us conservative prayer books and a Torah but they asked that the women not hold the Torah even though they did not stop them from reading it. Jerusalem is a city of contradictions.
This was definitely a highlight of our trip. We were all moved from their faith and commitment. This was a life changing moment on many levels. More will come from this experience reading from the Torah and praying towards the Wall. Awesome!
We then changed the mood and went over to the tour of the Wall going in the opposite direction underground beneath the Arab quarter. Archaeology was the theme the rest of the morning. The history of these structures built in King Herod'time is overwhelming.just how far down the Walls go is mind blowing. It is a must tour. Many orthodox young adults pray along these underground walls. They probably are praying psalms but they are standing together. Very interesting.
We returned to the Jewish quarter for lunch. We visited the Burnt House excavation of a Herodion house.
Afterwards we toured special historic sites in the Jewish quarter including a visit to the long awaited reconstruction of the Hurva synagogue. Absolutely spectacular in capturing the old Jewish world of synagogue architecture in a modern setting.
Finally the group went shopping for a while.
The last event was a meeting and conversation with my wife 's cousin Dina Rand. She has lived in Samaria for over 24 years. She was fantastic as she spoke so eloquently of her views about Israel especially religious pluralism , Arab and women's issues. Dina was engaging, articulate , sensitive and humble. The group was impressed. Enough for today and tomorrow we head off to Masada.