The Western Wall
Old City of Jerusalem, Israel
An artist's rendering of what the Jewish Temple may
have looked like before the Romans destroyed it.
All that remains is this section of the Temple's Western
Wall, the holiest site for Jews, who come here to pray. It
has been called the Wailing Wall because expressions of
sorrow for the Temple's destruction were so emotional.
The "Wailing Wall" term is now officially discouraged,
and I saw normal Jewish prayer here, with no wailing.
These two men pray motionless at the Western Wall.
Other forms of Jewish prayer involve bowing and ritual
swaying. In accordance with Orthodox practice, men
and women pray at different sections of the wall.
Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat), and a far larger
number of people are praying at the Western Wall.
Regardless of the day, Israeli security guards all entrances to
the Western Wall. Israeli soldiers and police carrying guns
are a visible presence throughout the Old City of Jerusalem.
Israeli national ceremonies are often held at the wall. This was
an evening memorial for Israel's soldiers who died in the
service of their country. Prime Minister Rabin spoke here a
few months before being assassinated by an extreme right wing,
Jewish, religious fanatic. In my opinion, this political murder
altered the course of Israel's history away from peace with the
Palestinians. The optimism of 1995 is yet to return.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free video of this trip by
clicking on: Land of Milk and Chutzpah