Wednesday, April 9, 2008

April 9 in Israel

Our day of touring has almost ended while in North America the day is beginning for most people. Last night as I mentioned, we attended a folk festival featuring a variety of Israeli music and dance forms picked up from the many cultures worldwide in which Jews have lived. Here is one glimpse of what we enjoyed.

Today we began with a visit to the Israeli Museum. This is the place where many of the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed. For the public a facsimile of the Isaiah scroll and other scroll fragments is available for viewing. The white domed roof of the museum is a depiction of the lid of a jar. It is incredible to think that a young shepherd boy would happen upon these documents over 2000 years old. By the way, an enterprising entrepeneur initially snipped the scrolls into pieces and began selling them. Someone much wiser and far less greedy heard about this travesty and tracked down each sold fragment and purchased it back for an enormous price. He realized the greater value of these scrolls. What you see below is the roof made to resemble a jar lid such as where the scrolls were found. The handsome couple are Al and Robin Sharpnack from Battle Ground, WA, friends of ours for over 35 years.

Some years ago someone designed a 1 to 35 scale model of the old city of Jerusalem to give tourists a visual idea of what the city looked like during the time of Herod the Great. In 2006 this entire complex was moved to the Israel Museum site. It provides a great idea of what the temple, the city walls, Caiaphas' home, the Kidron Valley, Pool of Siloam, etc etc looked like and how they were situated as part of the city of Jerusalem at that time. The picture below shows this model as it would be seen from the Mt. of Olives. You can see the temple just left of center. The handsome couple here are Al and Lydia Peters of Abbotsford, BC. The Peters are also dear friends of ours with whom we share a weekly care group in Abbotsford.

Today we also visited Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum). We took no pictures of this site. I did do a search for a tree planted in the honor of a Polish friend of ours who was declared along with many others, a Righteous Gentile by the Israeli government. These were people who aided and assisted Jews during WW II. Our friend rented an apartment in Warsaw and allowed Jews to live in it. He was betrayed and sent to Dachau. He survived that ordeal, came to faith and lived the remainder of his life in Warsaw. In recent years the Israeli government has shown its appreciation for such people by awarding them a medallion, providing them with an impressive certificate, and planting a tree in their honor in the Yad Vashem area with their name and country listed.

The Holocaust is a subject of great interest to me. We have visited most concentration camp sites in Europe over the years. I find no words to express my feelings about this evil part of human history. Joel 1 speaks these words, "Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation." This passage speaks of a locust invasion but by application I believe it is fitting to consider it in the context of the holocaust. My strong belief is that people must see the horrors of that time by means of such museums. This awful story of the past century must be told so it will never be forgotten and hopefully never be repeated. That's my brother Harv sitting with members of the Israeli Air Force. Surely most of these young men will have a relative who was killed in the Holocaust. What might their thoughts be about this place?

In the body of our great guide, Salo, flows the blood of a pastor. He rarely resists an opportunity to take a text that relates to what we are seeing and giving us an extended little sermonette on it. Here we are in a Biblical Museum that he and his community at Yad Hashmona have developed. Salo is explaining to us about grape vines and how they need to be helped along by support and how they need to be pruned in order to bear fruit. Hear a sermon there somewhere? I am featuring Paul and Maryann Andonian, another handsome couple,(everyone in our group is handsome and attractive) in this photo. They live in the Vancouver, WA area.

I am feeling quite weary today. Hopefully a good rest will have me ready to go again for another great day. We begin on Thursday at 7:45AM.


Ashish & Jessica said...

Sides like another interesting day! Did you find the tree planted in honor of your friend? :)

Looking forward to having you home again soon! :)


Ashish & Jessica said...

Oops - I meant SOUNDS like another interesting day. :)