Israel Day Two - Jerusalem

What a day. Today I realized that I would have to come back to this land, to this city. We began the day with a session with Rachel Korazim who not only gave us a framework for understanding the challenges of remembering the Holocaust, but insight into the challenges the diversity of Judaisms present for Israeli society. 

We then visited Yad Vashem and our group leader had to come and get me after a what seemed like only moments, because the group was waiting and I was only about half-way through the exhibits. I want to walk through these exhibits again at my own pace. The Children's Memorial alone was one of the most powerful experiences of any kind I have ever had.

View from the Holocaust Memorial Museum to the land - l'chaim.

From Yad Vashem we walked up to the National Military Cemetery on Mt. Herzl to recall landmark events in modern Israeli history in which these soldiers gave their lives and visit the graves of Theodor Herzl, Golda Meir, and Yitzhak Rabin.

After a short break at the hotel, we went to the Western Wall, part of the ancient temple complex, to witness the energy and joy as hundreds gathered for prayers to welcome the Sabbath. As the Jewish prayers came to a close, the Muezzin's call rang out from two minarets that are part of the same ancient temple complex, and on our way back I looked across the Kidron valley to the Mount of Olives with Gethsemane and the Dominus Flevit church. I've known for so many years that this city is home to all Abrahamic faiths, but to stand in that reality, feet on the ground, ears and eyes and heart wide open is knowing of a different kind.

Our group was invited to the home of Chaya and Hillel Lester for a beautiful Sabbath dinner with singing, poetry, stories, laughter and tears, wonderful food and wine, and it's past midnight here, and I really shouldn't be writing anyway, it's Sabbath, after all. So, good night and good Shabbes!

עושה שלום במרומיו 
הוא יעשה שלום עלינו 
ועל כל עם ישראל 
ואמרו, אמרו אמן. 

יעשה שלום, יעשה שלום 
שלום עלינו ועל כל ישראל 
יעשה שלום, יעשה שלום 
שלום עלינו ועל כל ישראל.

May the One who makes peace in high places,
make peace for us 
and for all Israel, 
and let us say, Amen.