Israel’s largest city and one of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem is holy to more people than any other city on the planet. Jerusalem is a spiritual center for Jews, Christians, and Muslims and is one of the most well-known Israel travel destinations. Visitors from every corner of the globe gather in Jerusalem to explore its fascinating religious sites.
Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism and is given special status in Jewish religious law. In fact, it is custom for Jews living outside of Jerusalem to pray facing its direction. After the Roman conquest, the Jews who had been exiled from Jerusalem were scattered across the globe, but they never forgot about their city. Jerusalem became a symbol of the Jewish people’s desire to return to their land. It was referred to in poems and prayers, and invoked by prophets.
Abraham, the Father of Judaism
Jerusalem’s importance in Judaism dates back to the time of Abraham, who was the father of Judaism. Abraham was a nomad leader and the first person to teach that there was only one God. Prior to that, people believed in many gods.
Abraham passed God’s test of faith on Mount Moriah (also known as Mount Zion) in Jerusalem. God told Abraham, ? Take, I beg of you, your son, your only son, whom you love, Yitzhak, and get yourself to the land of Moriah and offer him up there as an offering on one of the mountains on which I will tell you.” (Genesis 22:2)
Abraham trusted God and took his son to Mount Moriah. God intervened at the last minute and spared Yitzhak’s life by offering a ram for sacrifice. Mount Moriah came to embody the Jewish people’s relationship with God.
King David, the Second King of Israel
Ever since King David established Jerusalem as the united capital of the tribes of Israel approximately 3,000 years ago, the Jewish people have maintained a presence there. King David’s son, Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple, which was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem. It was situated on Mount Moriah and housed the Ark of the Covenant. In 586 B.C.E., the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and exiled the Jews to Babylonia.
The present Temple Mount was constructed by Herod the Great in 20 B.C.E. Currently, only the lower part of the Temple Mount walls remains. The best known portion of the walls is the traditional Jewish prayer area of the Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall).
King David’s Tomb on Mt. Zion is viewed as the burial place of King David. Jews have visited King David’s Tomb for centuries to recite Psalms written by David. The velvet cloth covering the tomb is embroidered with the words, “David Melech Israel Hai Vekayam”, which is the first song many Jewish children learn.
Explore Jerusalem with Israel Tours
Books and pictures don’t do this popular Israel travel destination justice. To see and experience Jerusalem’s ancient wonders for yourself, sign up for a trip with Israel Tours. Our carefully planned travel packages will take you to the most important Jewish sites in Jerusalem’s Old City and New City. For more information, please fill out our online contact form or call 1.800.2.ISRAEL (1.800.247.7235).
For more information, please fill out our online contact form or call 1.800.2.ISRAEL (1.800.247.7235).