We started day seven with a visit to the Holocaust museum. This continued our time in Jerusalem. As can be imagined, this was a very tough time to experience yet it is absolutely vital to remember. There are a number of different museums that address the Holocaust and this one is heavy on stories and testimonies from survivors. There weren’t a ton of items from the Holocaust itself but the museum does a terrific job with retelling the story. I especially liked the quotes that they had spread throughout the museum. There were a few in particular that stood out to me.
“A country is not just what it does – it is also what it tolerates.” Kurt Tucholsky, German essayist of Jewish origin
“Don’t rush to fight and die… we need to save lives. It is more important to save Jews than to kill Germans.” Tuvia Bielski
“I know that when I stand before God on Judgement Day, I shall not be asked the question posed to Cain – where were you when your brother’s blood was crying out to God?” Imre Bathory, Righteous Among the Nations, Hungary.
The tree in the picture above is part of a walkway of trees planted by people who helped the Jews during the Holocaust. These people are known as the “Righteous Among the Nations.” The tree pictured above was planted by Oscar Schindler (the guy that the movie is based on).
Following this we went to another museum where they have a giant replica of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. This museum also houses copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls that I mentioned on day four of our trip.
Next we traveled to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. While this sounds extremely confusing, Bethlehem is in the Palestinian area so we had to drop off our regular guide Kobi because he is Jewish. If this makes no sense to you then you are in good company. The politics out here are beyond complicated to try and wrap your mind around.
Like almost all of the other Christian holy sites, there is now a church on top of the site believed to be Jesus birth location. It is known as the Church of the Nativity and is slightly less complicated than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher we saw yesterday. You walk down into a cave below the church to see the original cave where tradition holds that Jesus was born.
After this church we ended our day on a spot called the Shepherd’s Fields. This is where the shepherds might have been when the angels appeared to them and let them know that the messiah was born in Bethlehem near them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, â€œDo not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.â€ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, â€œGlory to God in the highest heaven,Â and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.â€ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, â€œLetâ€™s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.â€ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:8-18)
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