10-16-18 – Sifting, Bethany, Holocaust Museum

10/16/18 – This may have been the funnest thing we did on the whole tour of Israel. Remember about the tunnels excavated under the city? Ever wonder what they did with all the dirt they hauled out of there? Well, they have archeologists sift through it for artifacts, and we got to spend some time doing just that. Will, Aunt Harriet’s grandson, even found a small coin, likely from the Herodian period.

10/16/18 – After the archeology fun, we drove over the Mount of Olives (actually it was rather circuitous because of the Israeli security fence) to the village of Bethany, most famous for the place where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. In Jesus’ day (before the fence) Bethany was only about 4 1/2 miles east of Jerusalem and raising Lazarus was on everyone’s mind when he rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The Arabic name for the town is now Al Azariah in honor of its most famous resident.

10/16/18 – The modern Franciscan church is built near the site of an older Byzantine one that had been destroyed by the Persians and now sits nearby the large mosque. The columns and mosaic floors of the old Byzantine church are still visible in places.

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10/16/18 – Inside the church are beautiful murals commemorating the raising of Lazarus with the story from John chapter 11 in Latin.

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10/16/18 – A little further up the hill from the church is the traditional site of the tomb itself. There’s no doubt this was a 1st century tomb, but there’s no way to absolutely verify it was THE tomb of Lazarus.

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10/16/18 – This is the border wall that separates Bethany from East Jerusalem and the Israeli administered West Bank from that administered by the Palestinian Authority.

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10/16/18 – After Bethany we visited Yad Vashem – literally “Hand and Name,” or simply the Holocaust Museum. My VERY basic Hebrew had some trouble understanding the title Hand and Name, but Doron tried to explain some of the subtlety of Hebrew that does not come across in a literal translation. The Yad or hand indicates a remembrance and the Shem or name evokes the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust and the efforts to catalogue each of their names that the Nazis tried to erase from history. What is interesting is that the Nazis kept very good records and recorded the names. This was a VERY moving experience, so I did not take many pictures. Sorry. Much of it was just too intense. But here Doron is explained the trees that were planted and dedicated to the remembrance of the “Righteous Among the Nations,” who tired to save Jews from being murdered.

10/16/18 – This is the entrance to the special hall dedicated to the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust. It was dedicated by the parents of Uziel Spielgel, who was murdered at 2 1/2 years of age. They survived and later moved to the United States and became successful enough to build the hall. The intensity was beyond description inside, so I won’t even try, but people frequently exit wiping tears from their eyes.

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10/16/18 – This is a memorial dedicated to Jansuz Korczak who organized an orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto and eventually was able to care for about 250 children. When he received word that the children were to be transported to Treblinka, he knew that they were to be killed. So he convinced the Nazis to let him organize the transfer “like a field trip” and to accompany the children, so that they would not be afraid. Even though he did not have to go with them, he did so and was put to death with them.

10/16/18 – The main hall of the Holocaust museum could take hours to go through and read each exhibit. but at the end, after coming through the holocaust, one is greeted by the view – the land of Israel and the hope that NEVER AGAIN will the Jews have no country and be at the mercy of those who would want to exterminate them.

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10/16/18 – I would be VERY much amiss if I did not mention our indomitable drive, Tamer, an Israeli Arab, who drove us around. We were all IN AWE of this guy and his ability to maneuver a bus better than most of us could drive a sports car. He not infrequently passed through tight squeezes with, not inches, but millimeters to spare on either side. He had HUGE arms, but was always smiling, polite, and pleasant and never showed a bit of displeasure no matter what he had to put up with. I cannot speak highly enough of him. We had to say goodbye to him today since he was reassigned to another group of tourists flooding to the Holy Land.

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Categories: Israel 2018