Scenes From Jerusalem's Wailing Wall

So, my schedule here in Jerusalem is very full and intense, which means that blogging is difficult to get around to.  With so many photos and video clips taken, I thought that I'd be selective here and offer just a few shots of the Wailing Wall (or Western Wall or Solomon's Wall) within the Old City (the term "Old City" is used to refer to ancient Jerusalem, which was a walled city and which is different, of course, than modern Jerusalem, which surrounds it).  So, here are some photos and a videos with brief descriptions.

(This is a picture from near the old German hospital looking diagonally towards the Wailing Wall. The Wall is located just below the Muslim Dome of the Rock, which is related to the near Al Aqsa Mosque (which would be just off to the right of this picture). The Wall is known as the Western Wall as it is located on the Western portion of the temple mount in 2nd Temple / King Solomon period. It is nick-named the Wailing Wall because Jews can often be heard lamenting or wailing there, crying out for the coming of the Messiah, among other things. Click the image to make the photo larger.)

(This is a head-on shot of the Wailing Wall. While there is much serious study and prayer that goes on in this area, you can also see celebrations taking place and people doing routine things like talking on cell phones, etc. Those praying at the wall can slip pieces of paper through cracks with prayers on them that are seen as something akin to sacrifices/offerings to God.)

(If you look at the bottom right corner of this picture, you will notice a group of young boys following a father who is carrying his son upon his shoulders. They are all singing and making noise. They are celebrating the boys Bar Mitzvah. This particular day is Dec. 27th, 2011, which is the day before Hanukkah ends. There were numerous celebrations (see the video below) which were taking place in this area on that day.)

(Here you can see Jews and even a non-Jew praying at the Wall. Non-Jews are welcome. In recent history the Pope visited the Wailing Wall and prayed there and also slipped a piece of paper through one of the cracks. Notice the giant Menorah off to the right in the photo. It has 9 candelabras, which is different from the traditional 7-armed menorah. The 9-armed menorah is in celebration of Hanukkah.)

(In this picture, we are looking at a portion of the Wall which is located under a tunnel. Within this tunnel there are large bookcases with Hebrew scriptures and commentaries. There are also many desks. Devout and studied Jews will often sit in this tunnel, facing the Wall, and meditate, pray, study, read, etc. Notice those stand and those sitting. Also take note of the differences in garb, some being traditional and some not.)

(Again, here is a shot of some folks reading and praying.)

(Here is a brief video I shot of some Hanukkah celebrations taking place at the Western / Wailing Wall.)

***UPDATE:  Just as I was finishing writing this post, something incredibly moving and intense happened to me!  The place where I'm staying here in Jerusalem is located in an apartment complex.  For about the last hour the woman upstairs, who I just learned was a Holocaust survivor, has been wailing and crying like nothing I've ever heard in my life.  On top of that, she is beating her head against the walls and floors.  Evidently, she goes through these spells quite frequently.  It is so eerie.  Chills have come over me like never before.  It is hard to convey through typing at this point but the sheer anguish and hurt almost seem inhuman!  I seriously have never heard any kind of emotion on this level from anybody!!!  It is the realest, rawest display of emotion, so much so that, one can almost imagine themselves in the horrors of the Holocaust there with here.  I am deeply moved and am almost paralyzed with shock and fear.  It is so bad that I had gone out to wake my hosts, thinking that a child or woman was being severely (and I mean severely!!!!!) beaten and that we really needed to call the police.  My hosts proceeded to tell me of her story.  The stark irony is that this all was going on during a post on the Wailing Wall here in Jerusalem, a place where Jews mourn, grieve and pray deeply for deliverance from suffering, for the coming of the Messiah and the heartbreak of their devastated past.  All I can really say right now is, this will be experience that may haunt me for the rest of my life!

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