One thing that Israel does well is monuments and museums. There are lots of opportunities for propaganda (note to CR students: we’ll be discussing propaganda and it’s not necessarily a negative thing). Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial is one such example as is the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum. The images I’ve chosen will illustrate this for you.
This room at Yad Vashem is a domed space that is filled with photographs of individuals lost in the Holocaust. Below them are endless bookshelves containing books inscribed with the word “Yiskor” (Remember) containing the names of all of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
This is a model for the Valley of the Communities at Yad Vashem. It is laid out as a map of all of Europe and is pillars of stones inscribed with the names of Jewish communities, large and small that were destroyed in the Holocaust. One can wander through to find a town that is significant to them, take a rubbing, say a prayer, light a candle.
Unfortunately we got there just before closing time so we had just a short time to explore. The valley begins with Russia. This is how it looks, kind of mysterious at dusk.
The wall to the right includes the name Sochi where the 2014 Winter Olympics will be played in February.
A closer up view that includes a fire pit for placing memorial candles. Jews light these candles to commemorate those they have lost and the candles burn for 24 hours.
This is how one would travel from one part of the monument to the next. As you might imagine Russia and Poland have a large section of this monument.
As you leave Yad Vashem you look out over the modern city of Jerusalem so coming out of the darkness of loss into the understanding of what it means for the Jewish people to have their own homeland.
The Shrine of the Book contains the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in the late 1940s and brought together for safekeeping and study in the 1950s. The building itself is juxtaposed against a black marble rectangle to represent the forces of light vs. the forces of darkness, something recorded in the scrolls. The water pouring over the sides of the Shrine represents purity, another element the people who produced the scrolls valued.
The Shrine of the Book is designed with special hydraulics so that in the event of a bombardment from the air the entire building would sink into the ground. The building was designed by Armand Philip Bartos and John Kiesler
An example of one of the scrolls (from the internet- not permitted to take photos inside)