A combination of rigorous exploring and intellectual stimulation greeted us today. At 8 AM we departed for the Damascus Gate (one of the Gates to the Walled Old City) in the Muslim Quarter. We walked on the paving stones from the time of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Neil (our guide) explained the history spanning 2000 years ago. We walked down, a daunting descent – but worth it, to Zedekiah’s Cave. This cave is a quarry under the Old City. This huge rocks provided a source of building materials during the time of King Herod. Amazing that the temperature of the cave is about 68 degrees year-round. From there we walked the Ramparts along the Old City Walls – spectacular views! Lunch in what is called the German Colony – for us it was falafel on pita! The afternoon brought us to the home of Shai Agnon, the revered Nobel Prize Israeli author. His short stories and poetry are unparalleled in Hebrew literature. Reading aloud a discussing his short story “Foe or Friend” was an exercise which thrilled us all.
By Marilyn Oser
We took a walk through history today – from the quarries that supplied stone for King Herod’s buildings 2000 years ago; to the ramparts of the Ottoman Wall surrounding the Old City, dating back 500 years;to Jordanian lookout posts to “the seam” line separating a divided city into East and West Jerusalem from 1948-1967).