The Wailing Wall

For lack of a better word, the Wailing Wall devastated us a bit. 

Weeping sobs belted from many men and women with their faces to the ground, while others quietly placed their small pieces of paper filled with wishes and prayers into the crevices of the gigantic wall. 

According to Jewish record, when Rome destroyed the Second Temple in 70 C.E., only one outer wall remained standing. The Romans probably would have destroyed that wall also, but it must have seemed too insignificant to them; it was not even part of the Temple itself, just an outer wall surrounding the Temple Mount. For the Jews, however, this remnant of what was the most sacred building in the Jewish world quickly became the holiest spot in Jewish life. Throughout the centuries, Jews from throughout the world traveled to Palestine, and immediately headed for the Kotel ha-Ma'aravi (the Western Wall) to thank God. The prayers offered at the Kotel were so heartfelt that non-Jews began calling the site the "Wailing Wall." 

Men and women are separated here too. Less than a quarter of the wall is for the women to pray at (on the right side) and the left side is for the men. Women are squished against each other in several lines, shoulder-to-shoulder, merely to get a chance to touch the wall. The men have enough room to spread out across the wall. Do you see how small the entrance is for the women (single-file line) in comparison to the men's entrance where ten men (at least) could fit through at a time. You haven't seen oppression of women until you dwell in the Middle Eastern culture for a few days. 

All men must cover their heads. The site offers free yarmulkes for men that don't have one. When you leave the wall, you must not turn around with your back to the wall as that is a sign of disrespect. You must walk backwards until you reach the entrance, always facing the wall.

Below is the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Muslims remove their shoes and express their devotion to Allah inside the Dome of the Rock, which was built around the rock on which Abraham bound his son Isaac to be sacrificed before God intervened. 

Non-Muslims were not allowed near the Dome of the Rock, thus we were not allowed any closer than where this photo was taken.