Temple ideas

Hiding My Jewish Identity on the Temple Mount | The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com | forest rain | 15 Sivan 5782 – June 14, 2022

Photo credit: Andrew Shiva/Wikipedia

An aerial view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.

I don’t often go to Jerusalem. It’s a long drive, 3 hours each way (depending on the time of day). It’s not easy to get there in time for the very limited hours that Jews are allowed to climb the Temple Mount.

It wasn’t convenient or practical to go there, but something inside of me was telling me, this is where I need to be. This is where the Jews are supposed to be on Shavuot.

Shavuot is one of the 3 pilgrimage festivals where, in ancient Israel, Jews ascended to the Temple in the heart of Jerusalem. Aliyah, the Hebrew term for this pilgrimage describes both the physical journey and its impact on the Jewish soul. The Jews make Aliyah to Israel, and we make Aliyah, “the ascent on foot”, to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Does it make sense to say that even though I am not religious and do not feel called to prayer, my Jewish soul knows where it belongs? Some things are so huge emotionally that they transcend the rational and are therefore difficult to articulate. The significance of the Temple Mount to the Jewish soul is one of those things…

A short and precious hour. From 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. I wouldn’t make it in time for morning aliyah, but I might reach it at noon, when non-Muslims are allowed to visit the holiest place in the world for the Jewish people. Christians and other tourists are also not welcome but, although limited in hours, they enjoy a completely different experience than Jewish pilgrims.

I had no idea of ​​the difference.

ASCENT

As we walked up the Mughrabi Bridge, the only permitted entrance for non-Muslims, the Jews in front of me began to chant. Why did this bring tears to my eyes? Why does watching the video still bring tears to my eyes?

The word “uplifting” seems so banal and inappropriate here… Words fail me to describe the feeling of my soul unfolding, as if only here, like this, in song and with pride, in this place, we become whole.

I didn’t even watch the Jews praying next to the Kotel. They were outside. I went inside.

RELIGIOUS COERCION

The Israeli policewoman at the entrance stopped me. His job is to give instructions, count and divide pilgrims into groups – individual Jews are not allowed to walk alone, they need police protection and Muslim Waqf overseers want to watch every step they take. the Jews.

The policewoman said my clothes would be a problem. I had been to the Temple Mount before and like any holy place the dress code is modest. That’s why I deliberately chose a long-sleeved shirt that I could button up to my neck. I wore pants as I always do and as on a previous visit. Same thing I would wear to the Kotel.

I unfolded my shirt which, being a little long, created an additional coverage as if I had put on a mini-skirt over my pants. She thought that was good enough and let me through, but the moment I walked through the Temple Mount gate, one of the Waqf guards insisted that I put on a hideous skirt that they had for “immodest” visitors. He also tried to force me to wear a matching overshirt. When I said “But I’m covered”, he let me go.

Later, other Waqf guards told me that I also had to cover my hair “to respect the Masjid” (the mosque). Their new way of presenting the Temple Mount is to call the entire compound Al Aqsa, as if everything there is a mosque. Changing the name of the place is another way to erase the original name, in Arabic “Beit el Makdes”, in Hebrew “Beit Hameekdash” in English “The [Jewish] Temple.”

It was then that I realized that the overshirt the Waqf guard was trying to stick on me was actually a hooded poncho. This conveniently provides arm coverage and hair coverage in one garment. It also clearly marks non-Muslims so that they can be easily recognized from a distance.

See the bright yellow stripe on the skirt? The color contrast makes anyone wearing these garments highly visible from a great distance

All religious places have a dress code. It’s normal. What is not normal is to change the rules, to gradually increase the requirements, to become more and more extreme. It’s not asking others to be respectful, it’s a declaration of dominance. This is a quote request.

And the clothes are just a symbol of the greater coercion that is happening here.

RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION

As I entered the Temple Mount compound, I spoke in English to a tourist. The Waqf guard assumed that I was also a tourist and therefore I was allowed to walk freely on Mt.

Without even realizing where I was going, my feet pulled me to the most beautiful place on earth, the place where the ancient Jewish temple stood.

The Dome of the Rock, built on the ruins of the ancient Jewish temple

To note: Jews are not allowed to stand in the Dome of the Rock plaza, not just because of Islamic coercion. Those who follow the halakhic rules do not walk on this holy ground for fear of breaking the rules on how a Jew should approach the Temple.
My feeling about this is that this holy place is constantly defiled by the enemies of Israel. I am sure that God will forgive me if, out of ignorance, I do something wrong. I am not a halakhic authority of any kind and so it should be noted that many of those who are, have deemed it permissible and even important for Jews to ascend the Temple Mount, but order to remain outside the square. There are organizations that guide Jews during the ascension according to halakha, with a ritual bath (for purification) beforehand, without wearing leather shoes, etc. There are lockers for shoes at the entrance to the Mount and there have been recent stories of shards of glass strewn across the path to make visiting Har Habyit, the Temple Mount, particularly “enjoyable” for religious jews walking barefoot.

Jews are herded in groups around the Mount by Israeli police (for their safety) and Waqf guards (to watch over them). Jews are not allowed to stray from the path, disconnect from the group, sit and relax under a tree, and are asked to walk fast. Many Jews deliberately hang around and increasingly pray openly and sing as loud as they can.

Not marked as Jewish, I could walk wherever I wanted. For the first time, I could do what I had always wanted: sit down and soak up the atmosphere. As Muslims can.

What a moment! Joy and disgust were one. To be in the place that makes my identity complete, I had to hide my true self.

WHY ARE THEY CRYING ALLAH AKBAR?

The tourist walking beside me backed away as the wave of noise hit our ears. He asked, “Why are they shouting Allah Akbar? It’s very scary.

The Muslim women were shouting Allah Akbar to the Jews who were starting their rounds. Men and children joined in, the sound carrying palpable waves of hate. These Arabs know the limits of the laws – if they physically attacked someone they would be arrested but there is no law against sound violence. Even when they shout “Khaybar, Khaybar ya Yahud” a real threat (meaning, we will do to you what Mohammad did to the Jews of Khaybar in 628 CE ie slaughter everyone).

I have seen women and very young children stand in front of Israeli policemen, yell at them, threaten them and make painfully loud siren noises. Some of these women are professional criers, paid to harass Jews and police who are seen as symbols of the Jewish state. Others join in, just for fun.

I explained to the tourist that the Muslims are angry that the Jews are on the Temple Mount. Stunned, he asked, “Why are people who behave like this allowed to enter this holy place?” Why don’t they have to leave?

FORCED TO LEAVE

Even before the hour was up, Waqf guards started sweeping the area, telling non-Muslims to leave. The Jews who were part of the group had already been expelled. The police were finishing their shift, so they were about to leave. It was then that a group of women and boys decided to follow them, shouting: “Hush! Hush! Come back! The Zionists shoot! as if they were hunting animals.

A choice of words that shows hierarchy and dominance – you don’t tell another human being to “shoo!” Did they say “Zionists” instead of “Jews” because they know that many of the police serving there are Arabs?

Notice the boy in the video and how he “points” the chair he’s holding at the police. What do you think it will do in the future, with other more “effective” tools?

BACK TO THE KOTEL

I left the Temple Mount both more alive than ever and crushed at the same time.

On my way back down to the Kotel, I heard a tourist ask his guide, “So why is the Wall so important?” What does it mean ? The guide began to explain that the Jews for 2000 years have prayed to the Wall. It was then that I interrupted: “The Wall is not significant in itself. It’s what’s on it that’s important. It’s like standing in front of your garage door. It’s not your house.

View of the Western Wall and the Golden Dome of the Rock overlooking the wall

And therein lies the heart of the problem. After 2000 years of exile, the reestablishment of the Jewish state and the reunification of our eternal capital Jerusalem, we are not yet at home.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Go. Climb the Temple Mount. Walk where our ancestors walked. The Jews and, through their Jewish Messiah, also the Christians are rooted there. Non-believers and people of other faiths should also go and soak up the beauty of this ancient site. As the House of God, the Temple Mount is meant to be a place of prayer for ALL nations. It is wrong for one people to claim dominance and push everyone else away. It is wrong to be violent and to spit hatred in a holy place. It is wrong to look at children brought up in hatred and close your eyes. It is wrong to let injustice continue because it is inconvenient to deal with. No Jew should ever have to hide their identity – especially not in the holiest place in the world for Jews.

Nature abhors a vacuum. If Jews don’t climb the Temple Mount, despite the hatred, despite the harassment and humiliation, others will. Zion is our ancestral homeland; Jerusalem is our eternal capital and the Temple Mount is its beating heart. He who is sovereign on the Temple Mount is sovereign on Earth. Muslims know this. The question is what about the Jews?

{Reposted from author to place|