Day #6 of our Epic Trip to Italy and Israel with the Museum of the Bible was sort of an emotional roller coaster kind of day.
We started the day by visiting Yad Vashem — Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the holocaust.
Wikipedia says this:
The name “Yad Vashem” is taken from a verse in the Book of Isaiah: “Even unto them will I give in my house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off” (Isaiah 56:5). Naming the Holocaust memorial “yad vashem” (Biblical Hebrew יָ֣ד וָשֵׁ֔ם yād wā-šêm) conveys the idea of establishing a national depository for the names of Jewish victims who have no one to carry their name after death.
The whole purpose of this memorial is give back the names, the worth, and dignity to the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the holocaust. Most who had everything taken from them — including their names.
I can’t say enough about how this memorial impacted me. If you have a chance to go, PLEASE go. It was powerful. Overwhelming. Heartbreaking. Life-impacting. I left with much to process and will likely be processing for a long time.
After spending time with the Jewish people and learning more about their religious history and beliefs, it was especially deeply moving.
We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but you can read more about it and see some pictures here.
From Wikipedia again:
A core goal of Yad Vashem’s founders was to recognize gentiles who, at personal risk and without a financial or evangelistic motive, chose to save their Jewish brethren from the ongoing genocide during the Holocaust. Those recognized by Israel as Righteous Among the Nations are honored in a section of Yad Vashem known as the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations.
It was hard to leave the memorial. Or to walk away… there was so much to process in going through the memorial. If you are interested, in this video, I shared some very personal and passionate thoughts I experienced as part of visiting Yad Vashem. (Go here and fast forward to minute 19.)
Next, we went to the Garden Tomb, which is one of the sites that is possibly where Jesus’ tomb was. Unfortunately, I found the site as a whole to be much more commercialized and tourist-y than I would have preferred.
Then, we walked to the Ecole Biblica — a French Academic establishment that felt like stepping back in time.
We then walked to the Machaneh Yehuda Market and had an amazing and exuberant lunch at the Yudale Bar — a highly-acclaimed, open-air restaurant where everything is made right in front of you and the cooks/servers are dancing and having so much fun you can’t help but join in!
We headed back to hotel to freshen up and get dressed up for welcoming in Shabbat. It was so cool to experience the excitement and anticipation Shabbat brings!
After sunset, we visited the Wailing Wall and prayed there. It was such a moving experience — so many people praying and pouring their hearts out in multiple languages.
I left a paper at the wall with my prayer asking God to help me live a life of love and that out of that love I would be willing to go anywhere, do anything, or sacrifice anything He calls me to — whatever the cost.
And we capped off the day with a traditional Shabbat dinner in a local family’s home. Since the Jewish people don’t use their phones during Shabbat, we were asked to keep our phones off and cameras put away during the meal. So I don’t have any photos but it was quite an experience!
I’m so glad that I jumped out of my comfort zone to go on this trip. I will never forget these experiences or lessons for the rest of my life.
…to be continued tomorrow…