On our way to the Upper Room which is in a large, unassuming building for Jerusalem, we pass a statue of King David and notice its broken nose. Some Orthodox Jews took offense to someone making an image that could be worshiped. The men responsible are satisfied with the damage, for until it is complete again, it’s no longer a graven image.
|Can you see David's broken nose?|
Jews consider David, whose name means The Lover or Beloved, to be perfect, but even he admitted he was a sinner. Yet, he knew how to ask for forgiveness when he sinned.
We learn that there are three levels to this building, the lowest one being the Tomb of David, although our guide says David is buried with his father in the Kidron Valley. Nonetheless, it’s sacred to the Jews and when we walk in, we’re segregated according to our sex and because it's the Sabbath, the electrically lit menorah is covered in black fabric. A young Jewish woman at our side tells us no photographs, for it’s forbidden to work on the Sabbath. She is here praying, as I look around. Above me is a plastered ceiling and in front of me was a small Wailing Wall set behind a menorah, separated from the men by a wooden panel. I apologize to the woman for disturbing her prayers. She smiles warmly and touches my arm, saying it’s all right.
The second floor is the Upper Room, repaired during the crusades. It has a medieval flavour, but only one column remaining from Jesus’ time.
|The only column from Jesus' time.|
Our guide read from the Bible on Holy Communion, and then tells us that first Communion happened 6th April 30 AD. So exact.
We leave, but don’t go up to the third floor. It’s a minaret as the Muslims once held this building. Instead, we walk to the Church of the Domition, where Mary is said to be buried. Of course, Ephesus makes that claim as well. This church says ‘where Mary fell asleep’. Being a bit slow, I had to ask what that meant.
It’s interesting to note she was supposed to have been 127 years old, and those numbers signify 1- age, 2- beauty 7- purity. It was also Sarah’s age when she died. Numbers apparently have significance in the Bible.
Inside, someone is playing Bach’s Trio Sonata allegro on the organ and it sounds to me like the Christmas music played at the Mount Allison Chapel in Sackville, New Brunswick.
|This is the building that has both David Tomb and the Upper Room|
After we leave, our guide leads us to a shady spot. Some of group have found the walking hard as it’s up and down on irregular steps and it was warm in the Upper Room. I notice our guide has applied sunscreen, but the sun feels nice to me and I don’t burn. There in the shade, Yossi tells us that some people are deeply concerned that the Trinity will become the Holy Quartet. That is, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will soon include the Virgin Mary because so many worship Mary some calling her a goddess, some going so far as to say she rose from the dead like Jesus. It's a disturbing thought.
We pass the bagel stands we'd seen earlier, and I buy a Jerusalem bagel, asking for the za’atar, the small pouch of herbs that goes with it. The cost – 10 NIS.
|Long bagels with herb pouches are Jerusalem Bagels|
|This stand also sold sweet treats and dried fruit.|
We head back to the Grand Hotel, where in the courtyard, my husband and I share the bagel with our friends. It’s big enough and the courtyard pleasant enough until we head to a distinctly American establishment.