Friday in Jerusalem
Trip Start Nov 13, 2006
81Trip End Oct 21, 2008
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After checking in I went for a walk into the old city. The crowded sidesteets are littered with market shops and I soon got lost. Towards the end of the day managed to find my way to the 'Cotel' - western wall which supporting wall of the temple and still remains the most holy, spiritual place for the jewish people. In synagogue we pray for the messianic era when the temple will be rebuilt and we can start sacrificing animals there again. I put on a paper yamelka and approached the wall
I was about to leave when I realised that with the Sabbath approaching there would probably be something happening so I turned back. sure enough there was a steady stream of religious jews with black hats hurrying in. It was interesting to see how the different sects of jews divided themselves up into there own prayer groups. black hats versus big furry hats versus clown hats versus normal suits. there was also a large variety in beards, which were pretty much proportional to hat size. As they prayed they bowed back and forth furiously, often with there eyes closed in a fervour of intense emotion ....something like pigeons on speed. In fact it looked very similar to hardcore clubbers dancing a worship to their DJ, except here the DJ really was God ..or a very old wall, depending on your belief.
I returned to the hostel to have a nap, but was woken by an intense debate raging in the kitchen about Israeli politics between an American zionist and an Argentinian preacher who thought the end of the world was nigh. Another political debate seemed to be going on somewhat more quietly downstairs, and outside the kitchen 2 guys were talking about collective consciousness. After dinner I returned to my dorm to find someone reading about intelligent design and got into a discussion with him about evolution and the nature of consciousness. Now I have stayed in hostels before and never seen anything like this. Was it that Jerusalem attracted philosophers, or does being in this spiritual city somehaow draw out the philosopher in travellers? I dont know. I went to bed earlyish to battle the mosquitos.
ps no clown hats really