Walking Backwards in Respect
Here’s a photo of my daughter trying to walk backwards at the Kotel, the Western Wall. It is considered respectful not to put your back to the Kotel. The wall that one can see at the Kotel plaza is actually a mere fragment of the walls of the Second Temple renovated by Herod Around 19 BCE.
We took an underground tour that showed us the full extent of the wall on the west. On this tour we passed by Warren’s Gate, an ancient entrance to the Temple. I was surprised to see women davening (praying) as we tourists tramped on through them. The men had less interuption in a balcony above. This is considered the closest one can get to the Kodesh HaKedoshim, the Holy of Holies. The gate is named after the explorer Charles Warren, whom our tour guide told us to Google to find out more about this fascinating man. According to our guide, at some point in his tunnel explorations Warren seemed to have accidentally come upon the bathroom of some nuns, but I couldn’t find any evidence of this anecdote online. He was also known to have failed to find Jack the Ripper when he returned to England.
I am working on a post of Ir David, the most fascinating of the tours we took, because every few months they discover something new. And this is by far the most ancient section of Jerusalem (it is right outside the Dung Gate, outside of what is called the Old City). Charles Warren shows up again in Ir David.