Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Yad Vashem, Wall of the Righteous and Mt. Herzl.

Today started out early and we enjoyed a breakfast at our favorite cafe. We then made our way to the tram on Jaffe St. and took the ride to the very end of the line -- at Mt. Herzl. A shuttle bus takes passengers to the "World Center for Holocaust Research" known as Yad Vashem.
Yad Vashem - Hall of Remembrance.

Yad Vashem isn't just a "Holocaust Museum" but is a research and educational facility. There are archives,  a Hall of Remembrance", a Museum of Holocaust Art and outdoor sculptures as well. It also includes a Road and Park of the Righteous and the Valley of the Communities.

The Road and Park of the Righteous honors those non-Jews who, at personal risk and without evangelistic or financial motive, chose to save their Jewish neighbors, friends, and even strangers, from the on-going genocide taking place within the Nazi sphere of influence. Each name is listed by country. Some countries only had one name while Poland, for example, had hundreds of the Righteous engraved in the stone. It's a sobering and uplifting sight.
At the Park of the Righteous.
My Grandparents were from Latvia.

The Valley of the Communities is a 2.5-acre site commemorating the thousands of communities that were destroyed by the Nazi's and their collaborators before and during World War II. The Valley of the Communities is a massive outside site with huge cut blocks of stone used to create a maze. As one wanders the maze, massive stones name the villages, cities and towns where Jews lived and, at one time, flourished. There is an educational facility and information center there as well.

As the day progressed, and as we explored these three sites on the campus of Yad Vashem, we were constantly reminded of the very real dangers so many people face throughout the world. The Holocaust is but one of these horrible events -- past and present.

As we were leaving the Valley of the Communities we caught a shuttle bus to the Mount Herzl Cemetery. It isn't very far from Yad Vashem and it was an easy walk from the shuttle to the main entrance. It's also known as Israel's Mount of Remembrance. Mt. Herzl has served as Israel's "National Cemetery" since 1951. It is Israel's "military cemetery" and one soldiers from many of Israel's wars are interred there. It honors Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Druse soldiers who fought to defend the security of Israel.
The gravesite of Theodor Herzl.

We sought out the National Founders grave sites which include Golda Mier and others who served as presidents and prime ministers of Israel.  A number of other "ministers" are buried there as well. A short walk to the west is the grave site of Theodore Herzl, who is considered the founder of modern political Zionism and the founder of the State of Israel.

By the end of the day, we felt tired but happy we had a chance to visit such important sites in Israel and Jerusalem. We made our way back to Mahane Yehuda for some dinner and then back to our lodgings for a well earned rest.

Tomorrow? Who knows. there are lots of possibilities, so stay tuned for the next installment........