Religious Tourism – Judaism

Places of worship

In our previous post, we explored how followers of Christianity find peace and much awakening after visiting their important sites, churches, and places of significance in the Holy Land.

Similarly, followers of Judaism who are known as Jews also have important sites, a plethora of history, and places that are of reverence for them. Their sacred sites are meant for their prayers and pilgrimage of sorts to seek satisfaction.

History of Judaism

Judaism is a 4000 years old faith existing in this world. Two more prominent faiths stem from the same set of monotheistic beliefs. They hold Abraham as the father of the clan and believe in David, Solomon, Jacob, and the bloodlines of Isaac.

Since, The Middle East is the epicenter of the growth, bloom, and movement of Jews, this region holds the utmost importance for the followers.

Synagogues

Jews have settled in many parts of the world. Therefore, wherever they lived in a majority they got places of their worship constructed. Their worship place is called a synagogue. Many countries that no longer have Jewish settlers still have synagogues as part of cultural diversity.

Judaism as religion takes less of conversions. Though this trend is changing and modern rabbis do take people converting to Judaism with full zeal. The footfall in synagogues is high in the western world. However, in countries like India and other Central Asian countries, Jews settled after fleeing from countries like Persia and European countries they flourished for a long while. But with the creation of Israel slowly they started to move to the country they called their own.

So, whenever they visit a country where they know of ancestral places or graveyards they do make a point to visit and pay respect.

Temple Mount

This is the holiest site for Jews. Moreover, it is also very sacred for Muslims and Christians. The religious school of Jews believes that this part of the Old city Jerusalem was Mount Moriah. This is the place as per Jewish tradition where Abraham supposedly offered to sacrifice his son Isaac.

This place is also said to be the point where both the First and Second Temples stood. The Jewish nation used to perform sacrifices as per the old traditions

 It was the sacred building in which the Ark of the Covenant which held the Ten Commandments were kept safe. The temple mount has the Western Wall to the southwest. This is the holiest site in Judaism. While the Dome of the Rock to the north and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the south. These two sites are of immense reverence for Muslims.

One can see Jews from all over the world coming and reading Torahs. Visitors are asked to be modestly dressed for the sanctity of the place.

However, followers of all three religions can be seen here.

Wailing Wall

The Western Wall is also known as the Wailing Wall. The staunch and practicing Jews visit this wall perform pilgrimage as this place allows Jews to make prayers as per their religion. 

 The walls have very big blocks of stones on the ground level and above. These stones are said to be the foundation stones of the ruling era of Herod. The middle medium-sized stones were laid in the Umayyad rule. Moreover, the top of the wall is said to be constructed in the Ottoman period.

The worshippers come and leave their prayer notes in the crevices of these huge stones. Also, women have a separate area to pray.

Hebron

Hebron is another city of Israel that remains important for all. There are tombs of many Prophets of Jewish sacred heritage. The visitors pray and show their devotion by visiting those sites.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Leah, Rebecca, and Sarah are buried in Hebron. This makes this city of high reverence for the followers.

Bethlehem

As per the Jewish belief, the matriarch Rachel who was the wife of Jacob is buried here. It is another holy site for Jews and of reverence for followers of Christianity and Islam. Many childless couples visit this site to pray for children. People say she was buried in Bethlehem and not Hebron so that when the descendants are ousted out towards Babylonia her presence may give them peace.

Mount of Olives

This mount is located in Old Jerusalem. Many notable rabbis and prominent Jewish people are buried here. As they believe that they will be resurrected by the Messiah from here. Many important events in the life of Jesus have happened here. Therefore, the cemetery and this mount is a place of respect and love from people of faith.

Safed & Tiberius

Both these cities have been centers of learning for many ancient studies of Israel.  The synagogues in this city are beautiful and deserve appreciation from the people who love old architecture, besides learning about religion. While, on the other hand, Tiberius is a strong example of the spirit of Jews. Even after facing the toughest persecution this city flourished and continued to be a place of learning for mysticism and traditional Torah learning.

Judaism is the study of the past, a combination of science and love for the nation, and a faith that future will be theirs. The devoted followers of this faith follow their customs with zeal and continue to cherish their practices and ritual with the utmost respect.

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