Friday, July 9, 2010
We started the day at Yad Vashem and a lecture on the Righteous people who saved Jews risking their own lives and often those of their own families. We visited the art museum that had art work created after the war andmany Holy sites to Christens including the Gethsamie, - where Jesus supposedly awaited sentencing. We visited another exhibit with pieces of incredible art that had been smuggled or hidden during the Holocaust,Our group participated in a ceremony honoring the victims of the Holocaust in the Hall of remembrance: a place of quiet solitude and reflection. Two of our group members read poignant poems as we all looked on in silent reverence. We left Yad Vashem and spent the rest of the day in the Old City. We visited Mary's Grotto and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Certainly these places held special meaning to the Christan members of the group. What impressed me was that while we were in the square in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, we heard the call to prayer from the Muslim quarter from the Minaret, the Jews were praying at the Kotel ( Western Wall), the Armenians were holding a service going through the square, while a group of Italian Christians were simulating the stations of the Cross. I felt like I was in the center of the Universe, where all the major religions of the world came together, each separate yet each playing a part in the other. Truly an amazing feeling and experience. Whether one is religious or not; one is in humble awe knowing that thousands of years ago these same streets were filled with people,which included Jesus, King Herod, and the father of Islam. We walked down the Via Del Larosa, and to the Jaffa gate, the path may have looked the same 3000 years ago. The Old City is an amazing experience and one comes away with a strange sense looking out to the Golden Dome of the Rock, and to the left is the Western Wall and to the right is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher- all the major religions of the world within your vision.
We ended the day with a traditional Shabbat dinner in the hotel with Kaddish blessings said over the bread and wine.
PS some bags did show up but several are still missing. One of our group is ill and did not participate today. Tomorrow we go to Masada and the Dead Sea, pack and have to leave the hotel at 1 am to fly to Germany.