To begin, I must say that the Israeli breakfast is amazing. It includes the usual - omelettes, breads, oatmeal’s but also includes and amazing salad bars - with cucumber,tomato salads, olives, hummus and much more. I even made a video which I will try to post on Facebook!
We began our day with a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, which opened in 2005 which is the second official Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. First, though, we had a discussion with Rachel Korazim, a scholar, who discussed why this museum replaced the one opened in 1953. She described how when the first survivors of the Holocaust arrived in Israel, they had a hard time talking about their story, and when they did, they were made to feel they could have done more to fight back. This led to a victim mentality which was reflected in the museum. The next generation worked hard to change this which led to this new museum which begins with snippets of old home movies from the Jews before the Holocaust instead of a large picture of Hitler. It also highlights all the ways the Jews fought back in small ways (children creating games in which secrets telling the next set of children where the hiding places were) and the young people organizing an uprising in the Warsaw ghetto. I cannot really say any more. It is impossible to begin to describe the museum. I have been to the one in DC, but this one was powerful in a different way. As Rachel pointed out, the one in DC is told from the point of view of the liberators.
After the museum we headed the Machane Yehuda Market also called the Shuk which is an open air market selling vegetables, fresh fish, meats, candy, nuts, spices and more. On Friday afternoons, it is crowded with people preparing for the Sabbath. It was quite an experience pushing through the busy crowds. By 3 pm, it shuts down as people head home to prepare for Shabbat. It is an amazing experience to be in Jerusalem for Shabbat (the Sabbath) where the whole city shuts down. All stores are closed and there is little traffic on the roads since most people don’t drive on the Sabbath.
When we got back to the hotel there was a festive air with lots of people coming into Jerusalem for Shabbat. There were young men with their rabbi and many families. Every one was dressed up and some of the elevators stopped on every floor. The Shabbat candles are lit 18 min before sundown which is done by the women. I joined Rabbi Metz in the lower lobby where candles were provided for the women to light and to prayer. Our group then gathered for a low key Shabbat service where poems and prayers were shared which was followed by a very wonderful 4 course Shabbat dinner. One really had to pace oneself to get through it.
I look forward to tomorrow to continue to observe what observing the Sabbath is like in a city where the majority of the people are observing it. Sometimes I wish our culture had more in place to allow us and our families a communal time of rest.
Shabbat Shalom. Rev. Anne-Marie