This morning some of my classmates and I went to visit a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period, made “with authentic construction materials.” It was dorkariffically dope, I do have to say.

Here’s a wide shot of one of the areas. You can see a person in the back, to get a sense of size/scale, etc. The three towers in the right hand corner are right next to Herod’s palace (which you can’t see so well in this one); what’s left of them today is called the Citadel of David. The thing on the back/leftish bit is the back of the Temple, but more on that in a moment.

wide shot of 2nd T. model

The amount of detail they got was really cool:

cute little house

Of course, they did a great job on the Temple. The steps that the Levites would walk up, singing, and the little portals to the mikvahot (ritual baths), everything.

the Temple!

We had a little audio tour that pointed out all sorts of fun factoids, but my camera batteries died pretty quickly after the tour started, so I didn’t get shots of some of the real nuggets.

Here’s another one of the Temple. Almost enough to make you want to start sacrificing live animals, isn’t it?

mmm, Temple

Another really cool thing was seeing the Kotel (Western Wall) in its original context and Robinson’s Arch.
They marked the Kotel with the red arrow. Robinson’s Arch is on the corner, with steps that lead up into the Temple. (coooool). Now it’s where Conservative (Masorti) Jews pray sometimes, since the main Kotel area has a mechitza separating men from women, and we are egalitarian folk.

Kotel and Robinson's Arch

The audio guide obviously also talked at length about the destruction of the Temple and subsequent exile, lots of the play-by-play of the Jewish revolt in 66 CE and the subsequent Roman smackdown. As such, over to the side they also had a couple of Roman weapons (catapault, etc) for us to see, and a few little guys to go with them.

bad Roman!  No kill Jews!
Bad Roman! No kill Jews! No destroy pretty Temple!

Which is funny, ’cause there are no Jewish (or any other kind of) people in the Jerusalem model. Maybe it’s OK to make graven images of gentiles?

In any case, it was great to get a good injection of Brainy Smurf before school starts in earnest on Sunday (yeah, here the workday ends Thurz and starts again Sunday). It’ll be fun to learn Talmud now and be picturing this when the Rabbis of the Mishnah and Gemara hold forth on how it used to be back in the good old days, when men were men and cows were God’s dinner.

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