As the van rumbled and bumped over the sand, I was still complaining about going. By going, I thought I was "signing up" for an unexciting day that I would get nothing out of. I was 12 years old and this was my families' first trip to Israel. We were going to sort bits and pieces from the Temple Mount that the Arabs had escalated to enlarge their mosque and dumped somewhere. I was upset that we would be sorting priceless artifacts and wouldn't be able to keep a single one. Oh, how wrong I was! We finally arrived at a large tent with sifters along the sides. At the back of the tent there was a presentation waiting for us. The staff showed us the history of the Temple Mount-from the Canaanites to the Israelites to the Romans to the Muslims and Crusaders. It was fascinating! Then the employees told us how to sort the artifacts-one jar for the mosaics, one for the glass, and one for the clay. Then they assigned us sifters and we got to work. The "work" was actually incredibly fun. It was unbelievable to actually be handling pieces of history, things that you would look at in a museum behind thick glass. I was humiliated when I actually thanked my dad for something I had so objected to at first.
While I was watching what was being done with the artifacts, I noticed that the most precious things of all, the unaltered stones from the temple mount, were just being tossed outside to be discarded. But what value they held, they were the stones that G-d had promised us. My forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had walked on. That King David had fought for, that King Solomon had built the temple on, and King Harod had expanded the temple on, that Jews over the centuries had cried over. They are the stones that my forefathers had for generations, been praying to be able to see and to ascend on. They were the most precious things in the of the excavation, but they had been put out as ordinary rocks. We asked the head of the excavation, if we would be able to take a few, and she agreed. They are proudly displayed in a glass bowl, to remind me of G-d's promise, our history, our future and unexpected endings.
--New Hempstead, NY