Friday, March 18, 2016

Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Museum)

TODAY'S PHOTO ALBUM: Israel - Jerusalem - Day 4

All the streets around us were closed this morning due to the marathon. I could not believe it - we have a light rail train down the street that goes directly to the museum but it wasn't running! Oy ye!
We even called our taxi friend, Eli, but all his streets were closed and there was no way for him to get to us.  So we made our way to Jaffa Rd and started walking.

Here, I have to tell you that Yuval was right - this truly is the City of Miracles. We walked about 10 minutes when I spotted - Coney Island Knish.  Were my prayers answered? For those who do not know about potato knishes, there are two kinds: One is round and soft which seems to be the more popular and the other is square and crispy. Where I grew up in NY, it was all about the square knish. I have yet to see them anywhere else. We walked into Coney Island Knish and sure enough, there were the round knishes. I asked if they had the square ones - "sure we do" - OMG I could not believe it. It was way too early in the morning to be downing one of these babies so we asked when they closed. 1pm he told us - after all it was shabbat. OK- "we'll be back on our way home from the museum".

Left Mr, NY and walked a bit further till we saw some actual traffic, Got into the first cab we saw and said "Yad Vashem". The cab ride was outrageous because one, it is tough to get to anyway, being on top of a mountain and two, streets were closed. Eventually we made it to the sacred Holocaust Museum.

This has got to be one of the most powerful museums I have ever encountered. There are no words - only tears. I cried through most of the history museum.  By the time I got to the Hall of Names, I was drained.
Established in 1953, Yad Vashem is located on the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, 2,638 ft above sea level and adjacent to the Jerusalem Forest. The memorial consists of a 44.5-acre complex containing the Holocaust History Museum, memorial sites such as the Children's Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance, The Museum of Holocaust Art, sculptures, outdoor commemorative sites such as the Valley of the Communities, a synagogue, a research institute with archives, a library, a publishing house, and an educational center named The International School/Institute for Holocaust Studies.
A core goal of Yad Vashem's founders was to recognize gentiles who, at personal risk and without a financial or evangelistic motive, chose to save their Jewish brethren from the ongoing genocide during the Holocaust. Those recognized by Israel as Righteous Among the Nations are honored in a section of Yad Vashem known as the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations.
After the Western Wall, Yad Vashem is the second most-visited Israeli tourist site. Its curators charge no fee for admission and welcome approximately one million visitors a year.
The grounds were beautiful  and we walked around through the exhibits and finally made our way to the cafeteria for coffee. The light rail resumed at noon, so we had some time to kill. Noticed there were some Taglit Birthright leaders in the cafeteria. My nephew did that a few years ago. Anyone between the ages of 16-26 can have a free trip to Israel if they have Jewish blood. I introduced myself and thanked them for their hard work.

Made our way to the light rail, hopped on and away we went. Crossed over the famous Chords Bridge and through the market. The market was a mad house with people getting ready for Shabbat. Got off at Jaffa Center and went straight to Coney Island Knish. We had to wait a bit but sure enough -- it was the real deal. Then, when the guy said "do you want mustard?" well that was definitely the real deal.  Found a place to sit and enjoy them but we found out they weren't cooked enough. So we put them in the pack for later.

Now what do we do???  We walked around aimlessly until we came upon Big Apple Pizza. Great it was going to be a New York day all the way. We got a couple of slices and sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine. Did I mention the sun was out?

Didn't know where to go from here. I suggested trying to get to the City of David which is south of the Jewish Quarter. OK, fine - we headed toward Jaffa Gate but didn't go into the Old City. It was very crowded today. Trekked around the outside for a bit by the Tower of David and ran into the Rampart's Walk. For a few shekels, you can walk along the top of the wall. Sign us up! We went as far as Zion's Gate and exited there. It was pretty cool. And the best part was that absolutely nobody else was on it. We were all alone up there.

We walked down through the gate and along the outside of the Wall and then down to the Artists' Colony - although everything was closed - ending up in Sultan's Pool.
The Sultan's Pool is an ancient water basin by the west side of Mount ZionJerusalem. Its origins likely date to the time of Herod and some think it is the Snake pool mentioned by Josephus. In Hasmonean times, water was fed into it via the lower aqueduct. The Ottoman sultans (for whom the pool is named) enlarged it into a reservoir measuring 67 m × 169 m × 12 m. It was part of the water supply network for Jerusalem from antiquity to late Ottoman Empire times. During the Crusaders times, it was known as Lacus Germani.
Currently it is dry in summer and used for concerts and festivals.
From here we  walked up to a park with fountains and a fabulous sundial. We crossed the street to the Mamilla Mall. Some of the buildings were that were originally housed on Mamilla St. were reconstructed. The numbers of the building blocks have been left on:
Mamilla Mall, also known as Alrov Mamilla Avenue, is an upscale shopping street and the only open-air mall in Jerusalem, Israel. Located northwest of Jaffa Gate, the mall consists of a 2,000 feet  pedestrian promenade called Alrov Mamilla Avenue lined by 140 stores, restaurants, and cafes,[2] and office space on upper floors.[The mall sits atop a multi-story parking garage for 1,600 cars and buses, and a bus terminal. Designed by Moshe Safdie and developed by Alrov Properties and Lodgings Ltd. of Tel Aviv, the mall incorporates the facades of 19th-century buildings from the original Mamilla Street, as well as the original structures of the Convent of St. Vincent de Paul, the Stern House, and the Clark House.
Completed the loop back at the apartment for a bit of a rest before heading out again for dinner. And also to have the knish!  Not as great as New York - but it was still fun to eat and enjoy. Tonight we are taking Yuval's advice again and going to the Notre Dame Hostel. Owned by the Vatican, there wasn't going to be a problem of them being closed for the Sabbath
Jerusalem’s magnificent Pontifical Institute Notre Dame is a towering French cathedral and guest house located across from the Old City’s New Gate. As the director of Notre Dame explains, the complex was built in the 1880′s in order to increase the flow of pilgrims to Jerusalem, and was part of an area called the “French Compound”. In this sense, the complex is similar to the nearby Russian Compound, which was built at around the same time in order to provide lodging and spiritual sustenance to Russian Orthodox pilgrims. The French “Notre Dame,” which means “Our Lady,” is a reference to the Virgin Mary, who is said to have been assumed into heaven in Jerusalem.
Yuval told us they have a lovely wine & cheese restaurant and, of course, a rooftop panorama view. Best thing was it is right around the corner. We walked down the street with all the Jews racing to get to the Old City for Shabbat Prayers. Yuval was right, the place is really nice and the views were terrific. Ordered a mixed cheese plate which came with lots of bread, nuts, and fruit. Plenty of food. Watched the sunset and the lights come on over Jerusalem. A lovely parting shot.

Next time.... Back in Tel Aviv

TODAY'S PHOTO ALBUM: Israel - Jerusalem - Day 4

1 comment:

  1. I went to the DC Holocaust Museum years ago, and know the feeling you described. Being in Israel and your being a direct descendant of Jews who were lucky enough not to be killed in the Holocaust, we'll I can only imagine how much more intense the emotions were.
    But we'll rounded citizen of the world you two are you said your prayers & moved on to NY style pizza & knishes topping off the day with the French Catholics. Did you light a candle for me??
    Enjoy your final days of relaxation at the beach, safe travels xoxox