Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Start your trip to Israel off with a long visit to the Israel Museum. This is advice we did not take from the Lonely Plant guide and should have. We've been here almost two weeks. Dear traveler: go to this museum first. It is fantastic! We barely scratched the surface of all the offerings but here you will set the historical context of all that has gone on in the land of Israel .

We saw the King Herod exhibit, a recommendation from our rabbi back home, and it was incredible. What this person accomplished in his short time as king, rebuilding the Temple (the 2nd Temple), Caesarea, Masada, Herodonia, Jericho, is mind-boggling and sets up all that one sees within Israel.

The life-cycle of a Jew section was also quite interesting, from birth to marriage to death and all the ritual involved from around the world, the Diaspora is diverse! Makes me want to go to the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv.

Cochin India
There are several relocated and rebuilt (or maybe reproduced) synagogues from around the world. One from Suriname looks a lot like the synagogue in Barbados with a sand floor and wooden Torah arc. Cochin India allowed women to learn Hebrew and the walls were colorfully painted. Eastern Europe representation was only photographs. In a black room. It was quite moving. But pictures are all that remain and what was interesting for me to see were that the synagogues looked like log cabin chalets...and they were all destroyed.

There was a Dead Sea Scroll exhibit and a full scale model of the Second Temple.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
After the Israel Museum we were hungry and we went in search of more falafel on our way to see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We saw pilgrims kissing stone blocks and praying along the way of the Stations of the Cross. We saw a small group of American women making a video along the Stations of the Cross for the folks back home. It seemed odd that such a holy place is wedged into such a small area in crowded Old Jerusalem.

In shopping in Old Jerusalem, we found more Hebrew pants, some for daughter and some for son. A great and tremendously full day.

No comments: