We visited Hebrew University today. We went to the Gilo Center to talk to Palestinian and Jewish students there about their life and the conflict. They Gilo Center had lots of really amazing projects to help integrate Muslim, Jewish and Bedouin children in Jerusalem. They take classes together and learn about each other and civic participation in Israel. The university students talked about their views. They came from various backgrounds and it was great to see them all talking side by side though they definitley had different opinions.
The Lutheran hostel that we are staying in is beautiful and strategically placed in the middle of the four quarters of the Old City of Jerusleum- the Jewish quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Christian Quarter and the Muslim quarter. We also can see the temple mount- the Dome of the Rock from our patio.
Today we toured the city, seeing so many amazing sites. We went to the Western Wall aka the Wailing Wall. We prayed at the wall and wrote prayers or wishes on pieces of paper and stuck them in the cracks of the wall, which is tradition. Then we walked backwards away from the wall as to not turn our back on what we just experienced. It was very symbolic. As usual there was a male section and a female section and many of the females were praying up against the wall. Some were crying and some had were reading the Torah. There were hundreds of crumpled papers stuffed into the cracks.
We couldnt go to Al-Aqsa mosque, temple mount because it is Ramadan and masses of people of praying. But in the evening I went with some Muslim travel friends to catch a glimps of these amazing masqs. I had to dress in the traditional Muslim wear- scarf and all and pretend to be Muslim. It was strange bc someone seemed to suspect my being an outsider so I had to follow the motions of my friend and pray. It was a very neat experience and the Dome of the Rock is so beautiful.
We also went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is said to have been crusified. This was beautiful as well. So many very religous sites. This is such a great city.