Published: March 23rd 2012March 23rd 2012
21 March 2012 17:24 local
So, this is how today unfolded. I waited an hour for my guide at the cafe he mentioned. He never showed. I was crushed, and then doubly so when it turned out it was a landmark for something else, not the meeting place. I somehow found the strength not to spend the day in a ball hating myself and went out. I visited the church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was fine. I think I may have seen to many things if the sight of the crucifixion and reserection ofChrist Jesus is "fine". My favorite parts were an exposed section of bedrock you could touch and an adjoining intact tomb I went I and explored. From there I went to Yad Vashem on the light rail. It was very well done. The landscape reminded me of Monticello, very peaceful. The video learning center is a great idea and hope more museums pick up on it. There are many computer terminals where you can access many documentaries, feature films, tv shows, etc about the holocaust. I looked around a bit and was sucked into an hour long documentary made for the holocaust memorial a few years ago. One part bothered me- toward the end there was a comparison of genocides and the historians they chose for the piece all came down on the side that the Jewish holocaust is in some way fundamentally unique and special. I find that attitude arrogant and historically not sustainable. Anyway, the rest of the museum is set up like a winding path through this trapezoidal concrete bunker of a building that walks you through the holocaust chronologically. Somehow, I entered through the exit and was taken in reverse order through the holocaust. The hall of names was really well set up. Originally, I was skeptical about the volume of books surrounding the room. On some level I feel I can appreciate six thousand thousand as a number and if this was a list of the fallen, there were too many books. As it turns out, there is more written for each person than just their names. The aesthetics of the room are perfect, very very well done. The most moving part for me was the room where a section of floor is covered in clear plastic and beneath you can see a collection of a few thousand shoes from the dead. There is also a portrait gallery and exhibit hall for other pieces of art. After the memorial, I wanted to go for a walk. It was perfect weather in Jerusalem today. I thought I might try to get to the Israel Museum which I knew to be south and east and downhill of Yad Vashem. So, I started walking in those directions the best I could. Residential Jerusalem has the same heavy stone feel the old city does. I wonder how they would stand up to an earthquake. Anyway, my wanderings took me to a large sports stadium from which I found a road sign that said old city this way. I kept following the signs and made it back. I am now going to try and find a place to connect to publish these entries. Tomorrow is Masada, dead sea, Jericho, Mt. Olives, and City of David. Then I get to start coming home!