Monday, June 13, 2011

Two step

We couldn't have picked a busier day to arrive in Jerusalem.  Not only was it a Friday - the beginning of Shabbat, but it was also Passover, Good Friday, and if I can recall correctly, one more holiday which, in the blurred activity of that day, my mind just can't seem to identify. Pilgrimages to the city had taken place from as far away lands as America, Ethiopia, India and the Philippines. (Along with everywhere else in between). Needless to say, the streets were crowded.  Very crowded.

Throughout the day, processions were held along the Via Dolorosa - a path where many Catholics and other Christians believe Christ took his last steps.  The groups of pilgrims carry crosses of their own and stop at 14 different stations along the way representing the spots where certain things occurred, including Christ's condemnation, receiving the cross, the times He fell, where He met His mother, et cetera up to where many believe He was laid in the tomb.

In another part of the city near Jaffa Gate, David Street was a virtual mosh pit. We found ourselves stuck within it, unable to move in any direction.  I had half a mind to climb atop of shoulders and ride it out.  But then there were the police, who magically parted the crowds enough to let their little dance train reach a location where they could jump a man.  That was all it took, apparently, to ruin the mood. So everyone left, leaving us free to make any type of move we wanted.

In the evening the crowds found their way at the Wailing Wall.  Shabbat during Passover is a time for the Jewish of all ages to give supplication near the foundational remains of Herod's Temple. They came in droves, and like the masses earlier in the day, it was quite the site to see.

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