Yad Vashem & the Western Wall
02.12.2011 - 02.12.2011
Our first stop today was the Holocaust Museum (Yad Vashem). We were warned on the bus on the way to the museum that it might be a tough day. And it was. I hadn’t studied the holocaust in much detail in the past so this was my first real chance to immerse myself in what actually happened. I wish we had more time than the 2 hours allocated though. I found it hard to come to terms with the suffering the Jewish people went through. Pictures of people being murdered, and piles of bodies being pushed into pits are images which I think I’ll never forget. The thousands of shoes and handwritten notes, as well as videos of people recollecting their experiences made up for quite an emotional experience. I can’t imagine what it must have been like. It was helpful that the museum was set out in chronological order, it really helped me understand what was going on.
Its going to take me a lot longer than a day to process all of what I saw. Some initial thoughts...
Why would anyone do this?
How did one man have so much power?
Why did nobody stop it all sooner?
What were other countries doing about it? Why the Jews?
Being at the museum helped me understand the recent history of the Jewish people a lot better. It’s hard to believe that it didn’t happen very long ago. Those people have gone through so much suffering, and it is amazing they still grasp on to their faith in God.
We then spent a short amount of time at the Citadel Museum, looking at some maps of Jerusalem, and looking at some awesome views over the city of Jerusalem.
After this we had some free time, I went and had coffee at a local café run by a Christian church in the Old City.
As the sun began to set we met at the Western Wall, and watched the Jewish people gather at Shabbat for a time of prayer. The crowds swelled to hundreds of people in the hour that we were there. They were passionate. There was young people singing and dancing. They were dressed well. Again, I found myself asking could we learn from their devotion to God and celebrating him? I think we can.
Back at the hotel there was continued celebration for Shabbat. Families gathered for dinner, there was singing and great joy. It was a feel-good kinda day!