The Holy Land: Part 4

[Review part 3]

Now, we all hear news of Palestinian attacks, Hamas militants … so on so forth on our very “accurate” news of America… It’s another story to come so close Palestinian territories through these check points.

Over the fence, that's Ramallah

Over the fence, that’s Ramallah

These graves are some of the most prized possession of Jews, Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem. Here they await the coming (or Second Coming if you’re Muslim and Christian) of the Messiah which these dead of course believed shall resurrect them from death.

Graveyards

Graveyards

The contentious Temple Mount, perhaps the most sought after real estate there is. Here is the site where the Temple of Solomon and Herod once sat until its destruction by Romans. Here is also the site where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended into Heaven, where the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque lies today.

Dome of The Rock & Al-Aqsa Mosque sit atop Temple Mount

Dome of The Rock & Al-Aqsa Mosque sit atop Temple Mount

As I enter through the gates, touching the Mezuzah, I knew that today was Sukkot, the Feast of The Tabernacle.

Mezuzah

Mezuzah

Here I see every denomination of Jews – Masorti, Hasidim, Litvak, and some secular, all celebrating Sukkot at the Kotel

Sukkot, at the Kotel

Sukkot, at the Kotel

As even the atheist Moshe Dayan even wrote a prayer when he reached the Kotel, I cannot not do this also. I had hopes, dreams, ideas, and requests from friends that I must pass on.

[I may say, one of my best photos ever!]

Prayers I wrote for love, for hope, for dreams... For myself and for others

Prayers I wrote for love, for hope, for dreams… For myself and for others

The day ended, with a trip to Yad Vashem – the Holocaust Memorial Museum…

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem

I walked through this place, reading letters written by people who knew they were going to breathe their last soon… I once again reflected on my own family… My grandmother who of course was spared of this atrocity (Baruch Hashem!). I often wondered why she left Russia and married my grandfather which of course eventually lead to my existence… Why she never practiced her faith… Here was my answer…

Children's Memorial

Children’s Memorial

In Europe, east and west… Cattle were of more valued than Jews… Where Russian Jews escaped to anywhere that would accepted them – Israel, United States, and even China and Hong Kong. Grandmother was a human being, and it seemed that she wasn’t religious whatsoever (which of course is clear to me as she married my atheist Chinese communist grandpa who was a revolutionary in Mao’s army)… Jews, are people! Humans! Who wanted to be loved, accepted, respected, and allowed to exist however they want to.

Tree planted in honor of Oskar Shindler, the German businessman who lost everything saving thousands of Jews in his care.

Tree planted in honor of Oskar Shindler, the German businessman who lost everything saving thousands of Jews in his care.

I had come thousands of miles to get my answer… I believe I did… My grandmother wanted to live, to exist, to love… Yet in my tearful walk through Yad Vashem, I also become spiritually connected to my own small Jewish past, and certainly made me appreciate my own Jewish heritage. Here in Yad Vashem, not the Kotel, I felt Jewish…

[Continue to part 5]

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