A guest post by Christian Cortes, a University of Pennsylvania student and attendee on Israel Uncovered: Campus Leaders Mission The air was a bit chilly and the sun was setting past the mountains of Jerusalem as we gathered around in a circle on the site where God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, Jacob, yesterday. Yael, our lovely tour guide, passed around a bottle of grape juice to celebrate the arrival of The David Project's first travelers to Israel; however, the juice was insufficient for this joyous moment. After being handed a packet of song lyrics, we were asked to sing one of my favorite classic songs: Hallelujah. Although I currently identify as Agnostic, my Christian past shined far brighter than I had expected. A chill through my spine and a tingle in my core served as reminiscent of the days when I stood confident that God sat in heaven. There was no doubt that I had started my journey through Israel on the right foot.
Today's adventures through the old city were no less exciting or reminiscent of my religious past than yesterday's. Between ducking in the water drainage tunnels of the 2nd Temple Period and tasting my first schwarma laffa, the soul of Israel became visible. But what brought back memories which had been untapped for far too long lies within our visit to the Western Wall. After learning that a part of the true Jerusalem experience involved writing a prayer and physically praying at the wall , I immediately became reluctant to revert to a past ritual; however, I decided to experience the holiness of the home of God. Although overwhelmed by the prayer, I was more than glad to reconnect myself with the big guy upstairs and I will never forget this unique experience that millions across the world would die to have as well.
Follow the trip on Twitter at www.twitter.com/david_project using #IsraelUncovered; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/davidproject; on The David Project’s blog at www.davidproject.org/connect/blog, where students and staff members will be submitting updates during and after the trip.