The Jewish Quarter for the Family Tour
Located south of the Western Wall and west of the Temple Mount, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City is a fascinating landmark, rich in history and architecture. It is a prime destination for any tour, whether a Jewish heritage journey, bar/bat mitzvah trip, or a kid-oriented family tour of Israel. After being destroyed and rebuilt many times during its long history, the Jewish Quarter now sits on the ruins of a residential area from the Herodian era.
Enter the Gates
Approached through two of the Old City gates, Zion and Dung (the latter was the gate through which convicted felons, sick and ostracized members of the community were escorted out of the Old City), the Jewish quarter is a focal point of any Jewish heritage tour. The main plaza of the Jewish Quarter is the emotional and actual center of the neighborhood, and contains the last remnants of the Great or Hurva Synagogue, built in the 16th century and destroyed by the Ottomans soon after. Other key sites of the quarter include the Cardo, a rebuilt, Roman-era shopping corridor, two underground synagogues and several museums that portray ancient life in the quarter.
An Ancient Mall
Any family tour of Israel requires stops and sites that appeal to all ages, and Jerusalem’s Old City Jewish Quarter has something for every member of the family. With its mix of ancient and modern, from underground synagogues and museums depicting life in days of yore, to the Cardo, a broad lane built by the Byzantines in the 4th century AD and resembling today’s modern-day highway, the Cardo is lined with Roman columns and offers much food for thought for the city engineers in the group. Constructed under the rebuilt Jewish quarter, the Cardo includes a selection of Judaica stores, art galleries and restaurants.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Age
With scores of synagogues, yeshivas, seminaries and places of study, the Jewish Quarter is the ideal place to begin a bar/bat mitzvah tour of the Old City. The bustling street life resonates alongside the quiet and serious Torah studies that go on for long hours inside the various houses of study, creating a fascinating and unique facet of the Jewish Quarter. The sound of Yiddish spoken by young children, who encounter Hebrew – considered the holy language -- only in their Torah studies, will surely resonate with your thirteen-year old and will serve as a memorable experience during this seminal age. While the Jewish Quarter is mostly renovated, making your way through the quarter's narrow, cobblestoned streets will give your children a strong sense of city life as it appeared hundreds of years ago.
* Israel Tours
* Bar / Bat Mitzvah Tours
* Jewish Heritage Tours