Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yad Vashem


The newer parts of Jerusalem have developed outside the walls 
of the Old City and constitute a bustling metropolis.  Jerusalem is now Israel's largest city.
The first modern neighborhood was built west of Mount Zion and is known as Mishkenot Sha'ananim. It was founded in 1860 and contains many homes and artists' galleries.   The windmill seen in the picture is the Montefiore Windmill, designed as a flour mill.   Due to the inconsistent wind in this area and the poor technological design, the windmill was not very successful.  It serves as a notable landmark and was recently restored in 2012, after sitting stagnant for over 122 years.    
The Jerusalem Light Rail Transit (JLRT) opened in 2011 after many years of planning. Transportation is a key issue for Jerusalem with an expected population of almost 1 million residents by 2020.  The JLRT system should help by easing dependence on individual transportation, adding jobs and providing better access to the Arab areas of the city.  
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is one of Israel's largest and most important universities.  It opened in 1925 and its graduates have been awarded SIX Nobel prizes for Chemistry, Physics and Economics.   
The Knesset Building in Jerusalem

The Knesset is Israel's parliament. The Knesset passes all laws, elects the president, approves the cabinet and supervises the work of the government through its committees.
The Government Building in Jerusalem
 The Knesset has 120 members which are elected every 4 years.  Israel was holding  elections while we were in Jerusalem, so we had many questions.  Citizens vote for a party, not a specific candidate and there is a minimum threshold of 2% of total votes for a party to qualify.  Electoral alliances can be formed in order to reach the minimum amount of votes needed.  Due to the low thresholds, the Knesset has 10 or more factions represented.  With such a large number of parties, it is nearly impossible for one faction to hold the majority.   After the election, the President meets with the party leaders who recommended a Prime Minister, who is then nominated by the President.  The Prime minister and his party have 42 days to put together a viable coalition and then to win a vote of confidence in the Knesset before taking oath.  
We also visited Yad Vashem, which was established in 1953 as the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust.  
"And to them will I give them in my house and within my walls a memorial 
and a name (a "Yad Vashem") ...that shall not be cut off."    Isaiah 56:5

As we walked into the museum, we could feel that names were very important.  
The names were everywhere....and the voices echoed the past.  
Yad Vashem is a living memorial to the Holocaust.  It preserves the memory of the past and educates future generations through videos, seminars, artifacts, art and exhibits.  
 As we walked through the incredible building, the recorded voices recounted the stories, the experiences, the horror and the remembrances.  Video after video captured our attention, but the room with the most impact to me was the room containing the names.  
Volumes and volumes of books with lists of those who died are in this room.  Over 4 million names with biographical data have been collected and recorded, which only represents 2/3 of the SIX MILLION Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices.  Two million names still remain unidentified and Yad Vashem is committed to persist until all names are recovered.
Another area that was difficult to visit was the area dedicated to the children who died.  
As we walked inside of this dark building, illuminated only by the stars of the 'sky', we
 heard the voices of the children's names being read....and we could only imagine........
There were many sculptures around the buildings; this one was a tribute
 to the heroes who helped the Jewish people. 

Walking out of the children's area.....
"Has the likes of this happened in your days or in the days of your Fathers? 

Tell your children about it and let them tell theirs - and their children the next generation."  Joel 1:1

After the visit to Yad Vashem, we will never forget....
Yad Vashem is the world’s leading resource on the Holocaust and is located on a 45-acre campus.  The indoor museums, outdoor monuments, memorials, gardens, sculptures and world-class research and educational centers were humbling and impressive.  It is certainly a memorable area in beautiful serene setting.   
Mother is standing on the platform at the edge of the main museum, looking over the city of Jerusalem.  

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