Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shrine of the Book and Holocaust Memorial

This is a magnificent replica of the Old City of Jerusalem located right outside the "Shrine of the Book".  This is how the city looked in Jesus' day.  (the Temple is shown in the picture below)
The "Shrine of the Book" was built to display the Dead Sea scrolls and other related items.  The roof of the building (pictured above) was created to look like the top of the jar the scrolls were found in.  You can read more on the Dead Sea Scrolls in a previous post {here

After the Shrine, we went to the Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem.  {website here}
The architecture of the Museum is very unique and holds great symbolism with the history of the Jewish people: before, during, and after the Holocaust.  Read more about the architect, Moshe Safdie, and design {here}

Here is a direct quote from the Museum website:
"As the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem safeguards the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, as the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem is today a dynamic and vital place of intergenerational and international encounter."
We had the great honor of walking through the Holocaust Memorial with a Holocaust survivor.  Beautiful Tova.  Tova is the mother of Sara, one of our wonderful tour guides and the owner of Jerusalem Tours.  On the bus ride over, Tova sat in the back with all of us "kids" and shared her story.  We all sat wide-eyed and in tears as she spoke of the horror, pain, and loneliness she experienced in Auschwitz at a similar age of those surrounding her.  We all learned more in the back of that bus from listening to Tova's experience and heart before we even set foot in the Memorial.   

"Her being with us added a deeper meaning and appreciation for the persecution the Jews have endured."- My Dad

My stomach twisted tighter as we followed the winding path throughout the museum.  A special area was dedicated to the children murdered during the Holocaust... In a dark circular room, portraits of young children covered the walls and a monotone recording overhead honored them by saying their names and ages.  As I followed behind Tova, I wondered if she heard the name of her sister, if their pictures hung above us, if she felt guilty that she was the only one in her family to make it through, and I wondered how she was able to take one step in front of the other and walk through this dark place... but Tova is strong.  She realizes if she does not share her story now, soon every Jew who experienced the Holocaust will be gone and there is a fear that it will be forgotten.
Elie Wiesel in the book Night writes, 
"For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time. The witness has forced himself to testify. For the youth of today, for the children who will be born tomorrow. He does not want his past to become their future." 
Deuteronomy 4:9 "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."

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