Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 7 Israel

Woo hoo! Guest commentary while Dan, while Lisa's in the shower. She just ran in Jerusalem. I personally think she's crazy. I'm on vacation. ;-)
Day 7. Jerusalem/Bethleham (which I now like to pronouce Bet (house of) Leham (bread). Which ruins Christmas carols, but sounds cooler (and more accurate (= )

First stop was the Israel Muesuem. Outside, they had a wonderful 50:1 (read ... HUGE) model of Jerusalem from 0-100 CE. I took around 200 photos of it, hoping to make a photosynth collage of it, which should be cool. It REALLY helps to understand the events. The modern city is about 20 ft above that era in some places. It's very hard to put it all together in your mind's eye.

But....the museum is really a wonderful place to display the dead sea scrolls. The scrolls consist of biblical scrolls of the hebrew bible, commentary and community guidelines for the group that wrote them (a quite interesting group that believed that that world was going to end soon with them doing battle with the forces of darkness/God on their side very soon). In the center of the building (in the shape of a clay pot lid like those that held the scrolls) is a faxsimile of the Isiah scroll (interesting that the bible tells of Jesus reading from Isaiah in Nazareth, and it's the best preserved scroll, completely intact; others have multiple copies but are less well preserved).

Until that point the earliest hebrew bible was from around 1200 AD. The dead sea scrolls were written around the time of Jesus, 100BC to 100 AD. The differences between the two were minor punctionation errors and minor word differences. But what you have, is what Jesus had at the time. Pretty incredible to think about.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum was the next stop. It's a huge, and very well designed museum with fitting symbolism and architecture. Unfortunately, it was PACKED. 15 ft aisles filled with tour groups. We have 50 minutes, and I'm sure you could spend days days watching the testimonies and reading the accounts. Man's capacity for evil is chilling. 6 million Jews and 10 million total were killed in the camps. Our guide made a note, that I never thought about. What do you think of when you think of the camps? Auhswitz? (sp) That's what we said. The most people were killed there, but other camps had similiar numbers. You think that, because it was liberated before everyone could be killed. There were 65,000 survivors. Only one survivor remained from a 2nd camp where 700,000 lost their lives. Again, chilling.
The most touching for me (I have a soft spot for kids), was the children's memorial. 1/4 of the victims were children. The main memorial is a central building, where you entere and there are floating pictures of children, and then a main room where there appears to be an infinite field of floating candle lights (which orginate from 5 candles in the center, and reflected off mirros). The names of 1200 children are read off in english, hebrew and then yiddish, with age and country. And if that wasn't enough, on the grounds is a memorial to a man who operated an orphanage. He would have been able to leave the country due to his status, when he received orders that the children were to be sent to a camp. (Camps operated on how you could work, so it was often the case that parents survived, and the children were killed). So, the man, told the children that they were going on a trip, and packed their things. He took them himself, and was killed. Numbers are always horrifying, but it's stories like that that tear me up.

Ok...Lisa is out of the shower now, and will take over...

Shalom Ya'll! We are running short on time, so this will be quick:
We arrived in the Palestinian area that poses Bethleham to see the Bethleham Bible college and it's library, here's Mom!
we purchased an olive wood nativity:

And visited the Church of the Nativity... more pictures from inside that to come. The door was made super tiny to keep out horses and animals when the church was occupied by enemies and the church dates from the 5th Century... way cool. Loation of Jesus' birth.