It was a magnificent day when our guide, Ossi Kaufman of Rent-a-Guide Tours, picked us up in a new Mercedes van just after breakfast. We began our day with a tour of the Knesset and at 11:00 am we stopped to view a powerful sight - the Menorah given to Israel by the British Parliament, from the oldest Parliamentary Government to the youngest.
There are many symbols of the Jewish people on the Menorah. The carvings begin with Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrificed at the top of the mount. There is then Moses taking the tribes out of Egypt on the way to Jerusalem and Moses getting the Tablets at the mount. This is followed by Aaron raising his arm to g-d. As well, the Holocaust is shown, as is the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
This entrance to the Knesset is certainly one you notice. It was twice as meaningful thanks to Ossi's commentaries on the historical meaning of each arm. He really gave us a better understanding and more insight into the symbolism in this grand gift from Britain.
Walking into the Knesset, you see the Parliament Floor, which has 120 chairs and desks laid out in the form of the Menorah; a very interesting seating arrangement. Within the Knesset is the Chagall room where an entire wall is covered by his paintings. These paintings depict the history of the Jewish people. Once again, Ossi was able to bring the historical pictures to life for us, adding much more interest and excitement. The stories Ossi told us were continually fascinating and were great to listen to throughout the day. It was especially helpful to have Ossi nearby to answer questions about the Knesset because we were having trouble hearing our guide.
Our next stops were the Supreme Court, directly across the street, and then the modern art Museum. We enjoyed the famous artists from the Renaissance period through the Impressionists as well as the work of Israeli artists. We became aware that this wonderful art graces the walls because of philanthropists who support both the Arts and Israel. The Museum has been updated and modernized and offers something to everyone.
Some of the more emotional moments of our tour were to follow when we went to the Kotel, put on T’fillin and prayed at t he Wall. We were very fortunate in our visit to the museum at the side of the Wall, which is relatively new and constantly expanding. Displays here refer to the history of man and the Jewish people from Adam and Eve to the present day. The Wall is part of the museum and there is reference to the Roman destruction of the Wall.
Next was the tour of the Wall at the bottom where they have been digging. Amazingly, one can actually see the bottom of the Wall of the first Temple. Walking along the bottom of the second temple Wall, there is a puzzle. It is one stone that is set in the Wall that weighs over 600 ton. No one can fathom how this stone was moved and properly placed in the Wall. You can walk along the entire Wall and see the digging that is still going on. At the end of the walk along the Wall there is an Arabic village.
We were impressed with our visit to the Old City where we saw both the Jewish and Arab areas. There was also the place where Jesus was carried to the cross, had his brow wiped and given water. Interesting that in the Old City, both Arab and Jew lived and worked alongside each other. Ossi kept our interest with his comments and stories as we tried to absorb the many historical sites in Jerusalem while driving through the city. And so ended another day of touring.
But the next day, Friday, Ossi was there again to pick us up in his very comfortable van. There were more sights for us to observe in Jerusalem. The first stop was Yad Vashem. Walking through this new museum we fortunately connected with a tour. And there is so much to learn from tour guides.
While we were moved at Yad Vashem, our next stop, the Children's Museum, really got to us. It focuses on the 1,500,000 children that were killed during the Holocaust. This is a black room, with pen- lights going on and stating a name and age of the murdered child. It was very moving.
Things lightened up after that when we returned to the Old City to see David's Tower and do some shopping after which, Ossi and Splash Magazines Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Lawrence Davis went off to explore the Tel Aviv nightlife while we remained in Jerusalem to experience Shabbat in this holy city.
We were thrilled with all of our experiences so far and were convinced that Rent-a-Guide Tours offers a wonderful, easy, and reasonable way to tour any or all of Israel, at your own pace in comfort with expert guides. And we couldn't wait to move on to more adventures as the days progressed.
To read about Rent-a-Guide Tours, click here.
To read about Davis’ trip to Tel Aviv, click here.
To read about Davis’ trip in Jaffa and Tel Aviv, click here.
To read about Davis’ ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, click here.
To read about Davis' interview with the Sheraton Jerusalem Plaza Hotel's Executive Chef, click here.
To read about Davis’ trip to Jerusalem, click here.
To read about Davis' trip in the Old City of Jerusalem, click here.
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