Day 29: Holocaust Museum, Israel Museum
If you think the short list above indicates we didn’t do much today (compared to Day 28), then you are sadly mistaken. Whoa! Let me tell you, we were swamped! We should have spent one full day at the Holocaust Museum absorbing all that was in there and at least two days (maybe three) to get all of the Israel Museum.
The Israel Museum was interesting. I will talk about that first because it wasn’t as profound as the Holocaust Museum. We went to the Shrine of the Book which houses the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls (which was flippin’ sweet and I wrote about here). We had a private tour by the Shrine’s curator, which was pretty sweet. I was like a little giggly kid as I stood literally inches away from small pieces of cloth that changed history and reinforced Biblical texts. One guy even got onto me because I was too close to one of the displays (even though they are shielded by thick glass and sensor’s so sensitive if a fly farted it would set them off). Despite all of that, I was in love.
We moved on from the Shrine to the rest of the Museum. While we had a few hours left, my girlfriend and I saw only two sections of the museum. We started in the Archaeology section, and boy, that was HUGE! We went on in there for over an hour and realized we were running out of time, so we rushed through the last half. We still got to see the stuff that was found at Bethsaidsa.
Our professor was describing to us when he found a piece of the large stele with the moon god on it. He was touching it in different places, pointing to where it was broke and where it was covered in dirt. One of the security guards rushed over to him and told him not to touch or he would have to leave. We all just laughed after he left because our professor was like, “I touched this way before it was ever in this museum.”
We wandered out of the Archeology section right into the Art section. The Art section was just… weird… It wasn’t like normal art; it was the ultra modern, crazy art that nobody knew what it was. After being confused and somewhat creeped out a bit, we left and found ourselves back out front just in time to leave.
While the Israeli Museum was pretty cool, the best part of the day was the Holocaust Museum. I tried to absorb all I could. I read every plaque. I listened to every speaker. I watched every video. Sadly, because of that, I only really saw about half of the museum. To me, the parts I did see in depth was the stuff I wanted and needed to see.
The stories of the survivors was what got me most. Watching these people tell their stories of their parents getting taken way, their family members getting shot in front of their eyes, their best friends die of hunger in the concentration camps, or the struggles they had to face every day really broke my heart. I am getting emotional now writing this, remember what I saw.
I would describe in detail what I saw, but some of it is too graphic. If you want to know more stories, tell me and I will describe them to you. In the mean time, just know that what happened to these people were horrific. I know you know that, but at the same time, words can’t really express what these people went through. I can’t describe to you the feelings these people shared on these interviews. To see their faces, to hear them cry and tell their stories with such passion and vigor, to hear the stories of hope and survival was too much.
I don’t really have a profound lesson in all of this. Just know that my heart breaks for what happened and I weep with the Jews and others who were persecuted during the Holocaust.
That word… Holocaust… has just taken on a new meaning to me. Growing up, I have heard all about it, as I am sure my children will hear about it as they will hear about the Twin Towers. But those two words—“Twin Towers”—don’t mean the same thing to them that they mean to me, like the word “Holocaust” doesn’t mean the same to me as it does a survivor of it. Yet, after going thought that museum, the word added a much deeper connotation; a meaning deeper than the definition itself. Now, when I hear the word, I remember, and a dark chill goes over me. I can only begin to feel what those people felt, but I am trying to understand what all they went through. At least I a little bit of an idea.
Following His Call,