All religions have places and building they consider holy, but only Judaism's holy buildings date back more than 4,000 years. Among the best-known are the Wailing Wall and Temple Mount, The Tomb of Rachel, and the Tomb of David. In addition, every synagogue is consider holy as is the Jewish home.
The Wailing Wall and Temple Mount
The Wailing Wall (also called the Western Wall) is believed to be the last remaining structure of the Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans about 70 C.E. Although Muslims claim it is the site of the Al-Buraq Wall, Jews believe the 72-foot wall is the last remaining structure of the Temple. It is the holiest site in Jewish history.
Rachel is considered the matriarch in Judaism. Her tomb is located along a road in Bethlehem, not far from Jerusalem. Rachel was the wife of Jacob and the mother of two of his children. She died giving birth to her second son, Benjamin, and Jacob buried her along the roadside. Her tomb, reconstructed in 1841 by the Ottoman empire, has become a special symbol of hope for childless women, and all those in need of special blessing -- teaching them the power of prayer.
The Tomb of David
King David's Tomb is located on Mount Zion, although the actual location of his burial is unknown. Before the 1948 war and Israel independence, Muslims controlled the site, but it remains in Jewish control today. King David's Tomb is one of the holiest sites in Jewish history because David, the warrior king, was credited with composing many of the Psalms in the Torah.
The Synagogue and the Home
While many Jewish people make the pilgrimage to Israel to visit the holiest places marking their history and heritage, the synagogue and the Jewish home remain the buildings that are the holiest in their everyday lives. The synagogue, which contains the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Scriptures, is the place where Jews gather together on Shabbat and holidays to ask God's blessings and forgiveness. The home has a mezuzah attached to every doorpost. Inside this protective case is the handwritten Sh'ma, "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One." It is a commandment to hang the mezuzah on the doorpost of every door (except the bathroom) to remind Jews to perform God's mitzvot (commandments).
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