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Journey through the Holy Land


semi-overcast 75 °F

Today was an optional/free day so we signed up for an excursion with lunch.

Our first stop was the 3D model of Jerusalem. The Second Temple Jerusalem Model recreates the city of 66 CE at the height of its glory; the eve of the great revolt of the Jews against the Romans. The city then stretched over some 450 acres. The model, measuring some 1,000 square meters, was created by Professor Avi-Yonah, a leading scholar specializing in ancient Jerusalem. Avi-Yona's reconstruction is based on descriptions from Jewish sources, particularly the Mishnah, and the writings of the contemporary historian Flavius Josephus. He also relied on archaeological finds from Jerusalem and from other Roman cities. At the heart of this impressive city stands the Temple Mount. Kings who built the city, notably the Hasmoneans and their successors, and King Herod and his descendants, were greatly influenced by the Greco-Roman culture. This is clearly reflected in the style of the buildings, and in the layout of the streets; in the holy precinct at the top of the hill; the public water facilities, and other dedicatory monumental buildings as well as in the sports and entertainment facilities. A closer look reveals the uniquely Jewish character of Jerusalem. First, there is only one sacred precinct - the Temple Mount - with a single temple, to one God. Second, the city has no sculptures, or reliefs depicting human figures and animals, in accordance with the second of the Ten Commandment: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. The magnificence of the city as it replicated in the model did not last for long. In 66 CE the Great Revolt against the Romans broke out, and in 70 CE, after five years of fighting, the city was destroyed and the Temple burnt down.


We then went to the most impressive Yad Vashem. One of Yad Vashem's tasks is to honor non-Jews who risked their lives, liberty, or positions to save Jews during the Holocaust. To this end, a special independent commission, headed by a retired Supreme Court justice, was established. The commission members, including historians, public figures, lawyers, and Holocaust survivors, examine and evaluate each case according to a well-defined set of criteria and regulations. The Righteous receive a certificate of honor and a medal, and their names are commemorated in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations] on the Mount of Remembrance, Yad Vashem. This is an ongoing project that will continue for as long as there are valid requests, substantiated by testimonies or documentation. Five hundred and fifty-five individuals were recognized during 2011, and as of 2021, more than 27,921 individuals have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem's declared policy is not to provide meaningful recognition, even in a possible new category, to Jews who rescued Jews, regardless of the number of people their activism saved. The stated reason is that Jews had an obligation to save fellow Jews and do not deserve recognition.


It was then lunch at the City View Resaurant.

After lunch we headed into the desert to visit the Museum of the Good Samaritans and the Museum of Mosaics. The Inn is named after the New Testament's Parable of the Good Samaritan, and houses a museum of ancient mosaics and other archaeological findings mostly dating from the 4th-7th centuries that were collected from churches and Jewish and Samaritan synagogues from the West Bank and from the ancient Gaza synagogue. Beginning in biblical times, Jewish pilgrims from the Galilee took the nearby Jerusalem-Jericho road to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. In later times, Christian pilgrims used the road to reach the baptismal site of Jesus on the Jordan River, near Jericho. The area of the Inn of the Good Samaritan was repeatedly fortified, and traveller-inns were built a little below the hilltop. This is reflected in the presence of two distinct, if related, archaeological sites in close proximity to each other, the other site being the ruins of a castle believed to have been built by King Herod although today they are separated by the modern Jerusalem–Jericho highway. Today, the Inn of the Good Samaritan is a mosaic museum.


Posted by rpickett 16:27 Archived in Israel Tagged jerusalem

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