Yad Vashem

The name Yad Vashem comes from Isaiah 56:5, “And to them I will give in my house and within my walls a  memorial and a name (Yad Vashem) that shall not be cut off.”

Yad Vashem is the second most-visited tourist site in Israel, after the Western Wall.  It has the objectives of education, documentation, commemoration and research.  The long corridor has 10 exhibition halls walking you through the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust.  The exhibition combines the stories of 90 Holocaust victims and survivors and 2,500 personal items.  Since the 1950s, Yad Vashem has collected over 102,000 audio, visual and written testimonies by those who managed to live through the Holocaust.

As you leave the main museum area there are two cones.  On the upper cone are photographs of 600 of those who perished and fragments of their testimony, and this is reflected into a pool of water at the base of the lower cone which is cut into the bedrock of Jerusalem.  Surrounding the upper cone is a repository for 2.2 million pages of testimony collected to date with room for another 3.8 million pages yet to be collected.

This striking architectural monument and museum and research center is dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust with the prayer and the hope that we will “Never Forget” and that never forgetting we will NEVER AGAIN allow something like this to happen again . . . to anyone . . . anywhere.

It is a solemn reminder that once you treat anyone else as less than human, or you stereotype and dehumanize a group of people because of their race, their religion, their politics or their sexual preference . . . Once you demonize and de-personalize a group of people, people who are in some way different from you, you step upon a slippery slope that ultimately ends up like this.

It is a sober, yet in many ways an inspiring memorial to the triumph of faith and the human spirit that perseveres in spite of all the forces of evil.  And it really is at the core of understanding the Jewish experience and the emotional and spiritual foundation of the modern-day state of Israel.

Hall of Remembrance . . .

Reflective pool in floor of Hall of Names . . .

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