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The Jewish Pilgrimage

            The aspiration to endure the experiences as a pilgrim is imbedded by one's religious beliefs. Pilgrimage is a journey taken to sacred locations where those that one reveres once stood. (Majdali, 2014) Among hundreds of sacred cities in the world, Jerusalem holds a holy uniqueness in relation to the three Abrahamic faiths traditions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Because of the significance of Jerusalem to the three monotheistic religions, pilgrimage to Jerusalem by adherents can bring them closer to their god and the faith tradition they commit themselves to. (Reiter, 2001) Connecting more intensely with the sacred during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, adherents of Judaism and Christianity can experience a transformation such that on their return home their relationship with God and their experience of faith has more meaning in their everyday and ordinary lives. .
             According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (2014), although Moses was the main founder of Judaism, Jews can trace their history back as far as Abraham (1900 BC) and believe that Jerusalem is a part of the land promised by God. (Dorling & Kindersley, 1997) Beginning when King Solomon built the First Temple (between 965 and 928 BC), the origin of Jewish pilgrimage stems from the directive given in the Jewish sacred text, the Torah, (Deuteronomy 16.16: "Three times a year all men appear before the God in the place that God will choose, on the festivals of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks), and Sukkot (the Festival of Booths). They shall not appear empty handed. Each shall bring his own gift, appropriate to the blessing of the Lord your God has given you". (My Jewish Learning, 2011) Jews from all over the country would ttravel to Jerusalem for the three pilgrimage festivals, in order to bring gifts at the Temple, study the Torah, pray, give thanks and celebrate. Priests would also offer the animal sacrifice that was incumbent on each of them.

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