The Israel Museum is definitely a must-see for any visit to Jerusalem, and is where we started our day. The first thing you see when you walk into this out-door museum is a scale model of the city of Jerusalem from 2,000 years ago. I enjoyed seeing the scale of the Temple compared to everything else around it. Living in the city during that time, everyone would have had a view of the Temple. Can you imagine waking up everyday, looking out your window, and seeing the sun reflecting off the gold on the Temple? It must have been quite a sight!
The second picture is the view of David’s City south of the Temple, with the Temple walls in the background. David had quite a front-row seat to the throne of God.
The other very intriguing part of this museum is the Dead See Scroll exhibit. The indoor section of the museum housed two of the jars found containing the scrolls. Many of the original scrolls were also on display. Sadly, the original Isaiah scroll was not on display that day, but a replica was.
From the Israel Museum, we took a short drive to the Holocaust Museum. We walked down the Avenue of the Righteous – a tree-lined path, with each tree dedicated to people or families that went to extraordinary measures to help the Jewish community during World War II. Neftali pointed out the tree dedicated to the Schindlers. Further down the path, he pointed out the tree dedicated to the Ten Boom family. The very interesting thing about this tree was that it died the same time that Corrie Ten Boom passed away, and has since been replanted. (The little white tree on the left).
We then walked to a building that is the symbolic grave of every Jewish person who died without a proper burial. The names of all of the concentration camps were on the floor around the grave. It was a very sobering site.
Just a short distance from here we walked to the Children’s Memorial. The building is designed in a way that it looks unfinished, because all of the families that lost children are now cut off. Walking into the memorial, you are surrounded by reflective surfaces, in which you see a million little flickering candle lights. A voice echos through the room, reading off the names, ages, and countries of the children that died. It is impossible to walk through the room with dry eyes.
We then spent the rest of the morning walking through the main part of the museum. I found it to be very different than the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. DC’s museum has many items and stories. Jerusalem’s museum is more about the personal stories and testimonies of the people who lived through it.
We ended the day in a beautiful way – we went to the Garden Tomb. This is the other site in Jerusalem where it is believed that Jesus could have been buried. The place where Jesus was crucified was called Golgotha, the place of the skull – can you see the skull in the rock face? The eyes and nose? The mouth is further down, out of the shot.
We then visited the tomb where Jesus could have been laid if He was indeed crucified and buried here. Our group was then allowed to sit in a private area where we could sing worship songs, read Scripture, and have communion. It was such a sweet time. The garden is so beautiful, and even though it is in the middle of the city, it is very quiet and peaceful. I would have loved to stayed there much longer just to spend time to pray. However, it was a great way to end the day, and to say goodbye to the rest of our group who would be leaving that night and the next morning.
Stay tuned for the last two days of my adventure in Israel!