Amazing Tour of “The Old City”

Hello Passionistas!

 

During my trip to Israel, I was privileged with the opportunity to tour “The Old City” of Jerusalem. There are no words to describe this experience. There was so much history, pride and culture in the atmosphere. I was amazed to see how multiple groups of people lived (and still live) together in PEACE.

The day started with meeting tour guide at the hotel and traveling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is like an hour drive.

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We started the tour at the “Tower of David” which is the highest point for The Old City. From the top of the tower you can lookout to the entire city. Being at the top of this tower was so quiet and peaceful. We spent almost an hour at the top enjoying the sunlight, as the tour guide told several of the most interesting stories that took place in this tower over the years.

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The tour was very interactive and the guide allowed us to make decisions of how we wanted to spend the day. So after the Tower of David, we walked the walls of the Old City from one side to the other. Our next stop was to visit King David’s tomb and the Room of the Last Supper.

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The tomb of King David sits in a room that is divided, women enter on one side and men enter on the other due to religious reasons. This is a main attraction in The Old City, people come to pray at the tomb of David.

 

The Room of the Last Supper is was not what I expected. I expected it to be fully furnished with the a long table and painting on the walls, with dark dem lighting. But it was actually a bright empty room, only decorated with the details in the walls and the first trend of stained glass art.

Our next stop was to the main street of the city, which is historically known as the market. Here, we were able to see a masonic version of the map of The Old City. Over the years, artist have sought out to preserve the history od the old city with creating other masonic pieces to showcase how things changed year after year.

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Finally, after almost 5 hours of walking we stopped for lunch. The lunch was amazingly flavorful. Herb and Lemon seasoned Salmon with Rice and cucumber and tomato salad on the side with pita bread and of course I had to have a coke.img_0927

After lunch, we traveled to the Western Wall. There is an amazing story behind the Western Wall and why its such a main attraction. The Western Wall is a support wall of Mount Moriah. People go to the Western Wall to pray and reflect. There is a tradition that  you write a prayer on a little slip of paper and put it in the cracks of the wall. When the wall is full, the notes are pulled from the wall (but never read) and buried.

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We decided that our last stop of the day would be the Via Dolorosa, known to be the place Jesus was crucified. This stop must have been the most emotional moment of the whole day. The feeling was so powerful and inside I felt all types of emotions.

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When you first walk inside, there is a rock. This is the rock where Jesus body was laid after he was brung down from the cross. People come here to kneel and pray. Also it is popular for tourist to place items of value on the rock for good blessings things like wedding rings, prayer cloths, wallets, pictures or any other items of special value.

Inside the Via Dolorosa is the tomb Jesus was placed in for 3 days. I don’t want to get too biblical, but the bible states that Jesus was buried outside of the Old City. So, how can the tomb now be inside the Via Dolorosa, which is inside The Old City. After the burial and rising of Jesus, The Old City continued to grow. It grew to the point of the Via Dolorosa was build and the tomb was preserved inside. Many people (of all religions) enter this church to pray, fellowship and worship everyday.

If you ever have the opportunity, I recommend that everyone visit The Old City at least once in your lifetime. This is a place where all people, no matter your religion or nationality, are welcomed in peace and exist TOGETHER in peace.

Stay tuned for my next blog of my day in PARIS !!!!!!

Be Passionate! TTYL !

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Martin Luther King Day

Hello Passionistas!

In 2009, I was a recipient of the Athens Area Human Relations Council Scholarship. Every year the organization hosts a Martin Luther King Awards Banquet. As a senior in high school I didn’t really understand the direct impact that a Martin Luther King celebration or scholarship had on the African American community.

Today, I am reflecting on the reason why we have Martin Luther King Day and what it really means for our culture, our community, and our history. I am disappointed in myself, because since that award banquet in 2009 I can not remember celebrating MLK Day.

I remember always being a part of my home church MLK Day program as a kid growing up. I even remember participating in some volunteer day programs. But once I became a college student, MLK day has just been a  free day. A day I was off work and had no classes. A extra day to hang with my friends and party or chill…. And I’m embarrassed, personally.

As a 20-something year old adult, I need to grow up and make a larger effort to participant in MLK Day event within my community- at the least. So if you are like me and have not really celebrated and embraced what today really means, I challenge you to make a change. I challenge myself to also make that change. Starting today!

 

 

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!