Israel Trip: Day 7

We woke up bright and early to make our pilgrimage to the Temple Mount in anticipation of the long queue of visitors like us (there was a long queue when we arrived). We were informed the day before to avoid carrying backpacks as security is extremely tight in this place and bringing one would cause delays at the security check. And when I say security is tight, it really is (just imagine passing by law enforcement officers with guns strapped on less than a metre of space between us and they were all sitting in a single file on the bridge that would take us into the place).

The Temple Mount is a site which holds special significance to the Jews and Muslims. It is also the place where Jesus was presented in the Temple by His earthly parents Joseph and Mary and later stayed behind to debate with the teachers. It’s now a mosque and as you can see there are Arabic writings on the tiles. Fun fact: See the dome at the top of the mosque? Its measurements and dimensions were modelled from a similar dome of a church nearby.


You wouldn’t believe how many visitors come by the Temple Mount each day but I managed to get a clear shot void of any tourist!


This is the Dome of the Tablets/Spirits and there’s a theory that this dome marks the site of the Holy of Holies in the Second Temple, as the east-west line aligning the Mount of Olives with the Eastern Gate and the Temple cuts through this very location.

You wouldn’t believe that there’s a mini protest happening while we were there. I couldn’t hear what they say but it seems that the people were against tourists visiting the place. =S

Sometimes the access to the Temple Mount is restricted due to protests happening (and apparently one took place a day or so before), so it seems like Daddy God aligned everything so that we can visit this holy place. :)


There are several cats within the premises, I can’t help but snap many pictures of them!


Remember the pool of Bethesda in the Bible? Bethesda means House of Mercy, and this is where people would wait to be the first one into the waters after it was stirred by an angel. This is the same spot where Jesus healed a paralytic of 38 years :)


I really like this particular kitty!


Yet another kitty!

We then had lunch before we went to check out the Via Dolorosa, which means the Way of Suffering in Latin. We went underground first, to see the markings which by now had become faint. Avi was trying to show us that there are inscriptions of the battalion’s symbol and a crown of thorns on the flagstone.


The circular discs seen on the buildings mark the various spots on the path.


As we walked the path, I could imagine that it was a very busy street that Jesus walked through then.


Another picture of a kitty.


It seriously is a very busy place and it’s of utmost importance to stick close to your group/guide as there are many tour groups around.


Too many cats around in this place!


Oh yes, we spotted little children and adults alike dressed up like it’s Halloween, but it’s not – it’s Purim (Festival of Lots)! I can’t believe our trip coincided with one of their Jewish holidays and we get to see them celebrate it. :D

Purim is a celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from Haman (you can read it in the Book of Esther). The tradition of dressing up is based upon the way Esther concealed her Jewish identity at the beginning. Some of their costumes really deserve awards! I saw this particular guy’s costume that was of someone who’s in the portaloo and it’s really darn good!


Bob the Tomato from VeggieTales!


This is a replica of a temple menorah and it’s been fashion from one piece of solid metal – gold.  If my memory didn’t fail me, the original one had been taken away to Rome but its whereabouts to this date still remain unknown.


I spy with my little eye, I see a dog in there!


This is the road that Jesus walked on 2000 years ago. WOW.


A mosaic map of Jerusalem back in the days. It’s pretty cool how they actually managed to match the location of places of the past to the current day Jerusalem.

We then had some time to spend at the Jewish Quarters. It’s filled with many stores and art galleries.


Look the star of the framed picture sitting in front! After I snapped this picture, many others followed suit hahaha


I wasn’t joking about the level of security in this place. Here we have some Israeli soldiers near the Western Wall.

Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:15

So, we were at the Western Wall (also known as Wailing Wall) which is part of the remaining wall from the time of the Second Temple surrounding the Temple’s courtyard. This is the most sacred and the holiest spot in Jerusalem after the Holy of Holies. Men and women are segregated to pray at different portions of the wall, with the men wearing a kippah before doing so. As I struggled to make my way to the wall. I see ladies rocking themselves standing with their faces in their copies of Torah, wailing. Some of them were reading the Torah with their hand on the wall. As I got closer, the ladies exiting walked backwards from the wall (it’s their custom). When I finally reached the wall, I placed my finger on the wall (with the help of my tourmates because it’s just too crowded!!), said my silent prayers and left. I also observed many notes containing written prayers were left in the crevices of the wall.

Interesting note: There’s a live cam streaming the happenings at the wall and you can check it out here!


Southern Wall – built during King Herod’s time. It’s made of limestone and it can be easily identified that the style was Herodian by the margins of the block with a slightly raised centre.


At the Southern Steps, and we had a short sharing over here. Jesus climbed these very steps when He visited the Temple and this is the place where 3,000 were saved and baptised in the Holy Spirit!

With that, we ended our day of sightseeing :)

Thursday Tune – Psalm 91

This is a song that I was meditating on for a special song item for the children’s mnistry last week and in the midst of what’s been going on around like plane crashes, deadly strains of virus and news of war these days, this song couldn’t be anymore relevant.

Israel Trip: Day 6

On day 6, we are going on the Palm Sunday road that Jesus took to get to Jerusalem and explore Jerusalem, starting from the top. It was on this road that Jesus rode a donkey to the Temple Mount and received much fanfare, and then was later crucified days after. A fellow P&W leader shared at another time that donkeys can be quite hard to ride and for Jesus to sit on one (comfortably!) down this path to the Eastern Gate, the donkey must really acknowledge that Jesus is the Creator!


Temple Mount in the background.


The Palm Sunday road is an extremely steep route, they had even installed railings for people to hold on to while descending. Make sure you wear good walking shoes with grip!


Always make time for selfies! As you can see, there’s even a donkey and a man in the background. Taking pictures of the donkey will cost you…. just so you know.


At the Tomb of the Prophets
Jewish tombs/graves – These are examples of Jewish tombs. The rocks on top of the tombs signify to mark a person’s visit and the square holes at the bottom are for people to light candles in it for memorial purposes.

As you can see, there are many graves, leading up to the walls of Jerusalem, Jewish, Christian and Muslim.


Can you see how steep it is?!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We checked out Dominus Flevit , a small church that is believed to be where Jesus wept when He arrived in Jerusalem as He foresaw the tragic events that would happen after His death. The church is built in the shape of a teardrop, symbolising Jesus’ tears. We also saw the burial cave where a number of small coffins (bone boxes) were housed from the time of Jesus with numerous inscriptions that gave clues that they are first century Christians.

We then visited Garden of Gethsemane next. ‘Gethsemane’ means olive press, appropriating this place where Jesus was so hardpressed that he sweated drops of blood. This is also the spot where Jesus was betrayed and taken by the soldiers.


These trees are believed to be about a thousand years old at the very least, they could be around since the time of Jesus!

We also visited The Church of All Nations was located near the Garden of Gethsemane.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The huge slab of rock you see cordoned off on the floor marks the spot Jesus is said to be praying in agony on the night of his betrayal. This stone is believed to form a direct line with the Eastern Gate and the entrance of the Holy of Holies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kidron Valley…

We also visited the Tomb of King David (though we believe it’s not King David’s tomb but of a king later than him). It’s quite interesting how the ladies and men had to enter separate rooms and the men had to wear a kippah before they head in. People come in here to pray and recite psalms.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


It makes me wonder…. which end is the head and vice versa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We also went upstairs to view the room where the Last Supper and the Pentecost experience took place, it was too crowded in there with people so no pictures!


Bullet shots on ancient walls, this country has been through a lot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We then paid a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and Avi shared with us that individuals who helped the Jews during the Holocaust at personal risk without any financial motives are honoured with a plaque (with their names) attached to the trees in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, no picture of the place from this point on as a sign of respect for this memorial site.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I feel that we have too short a time to spend in here. There are so many stories of survivors in there and I left feeling overwhelmed and a little heartbroken at the treatment of the Jewish people during the genocide.

We then popped over to check out the model of Holy Land (ancient Jerusalem) at Israel Museum. It’s uber massive (I had to take a panoramic shot), I can’t believe it was transported here from somewhere else in 1000 over pieces and then reassembled to this amazing masterpiece!

IMG_1083

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We ended our day with a visit to Ben Yehuda street for some shopping!  Ok, we (I) didn’t buy much.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset
After many days of kosher food/ Israeli cuisine… I really need my Maccas hit. I was overjoyed that I spotted McDonalds and we had some fries :D Oh, glorious glorious fries…

IMG_1092
People buying party accessories in celebration of Purim.

IMG_1093
Flowers!! Look how pretty they are :D

IMG_1099
So our day ends here and we’re waiting for our bus to take us back to the hotel! :)

Monday Motivation

 

 

Spots of Inspiration #1

SOI_01

When I look at pictures (especially pretty ones), something in my head goes off creating colour palettes (must be from uni days). I’m trusting more of such colour palettes will appear on this blog as  I go along so feel free to use them for as inspirations for wedding colour themes and more! :)

Image credits via Pinterest

Friday’s Fancy

I’ve been looking for floral inspirations the other day when I came across the flowering kale being used in a bouquet. It might be known better as a vegetable but I think it’s quite quirky and pretty gorgeous. I don’t see it as often  in the nursery and hopefully I would have an opportunity in the future to experiment with it.

Image credits: 1/2/3/4 via Pinterest

Memories of #JZ1512

Has it really been 7 months? Whenever I look at these pictures, it always make me feel like it just took place a  month or two ago. Anyways, in December 2013, another girlfriend in our gang (Syaza being the first and I being the second one) got hitched! :)

10390333_10152914525459488_4720514373566896706_n

We gathered in Ju Leen’s room before the sun came up to get ready all the elements of gatecrashing and boy, wasn’t it memorable. :D It was nice that we knew each other (or at least 95% of the bridesmaid entourage) and I had fun being a bridesmaid!

10288784_10152914524874488_7526147768994816005_n
Groom came bearing flowers for the bride :)

The day before, we were all at the nursery picking out the flowers for her wedding bouquet, posies and groom’s boutonniere. I can’t believe she trusted me enough to put together her wedding bouquet!! A few days prior, I was busy creating a Pinterest board full of images of the various bouquet styles that I thought she would like and I shared it with her. With each picture that she liked, I know I’m on the right track. :D When we got back to their place, we immediately started cutting and putting everything together because the busy duo had a dinner appointment with their families so we gotta work fast. I’m so glad the flowers turned out well!

10434172_10152914524994488_1266777046603746537_n
Look at that glowing bride :)

10420111_10152914525849488_6156533148731940520_n
We then made a trip to East Coast Park for some photos and shooting of footage for the wedding video, and then there was a break for us before we gathered together again to decorate her ROM and dinner venue while the wedding couple had other places to visit together with the best man and maid of honour.

10295697_10152914527259488_4644297574426997739_n
Picture of us at our table!

With that, my friend has entered a new chapter of her life (7 months ago) as a wife. You know what people say about friendships that last longer than 7 years? They say such friendships will last a lifetime and I look forward to the days ahead filled with house parties, gatherings, and other happy celebrations. :)