OJC Hazak Israel Adventure – Post III

For the OJC Hazak trip, Sunday began in Israel’s City that Never Sleeps, Tel Aviv. We visited two museums not common to most tours, each unique in its own way.

At the newly renovated Beit Hatefusot, Museum of the Jewish People, we appreciated the way that Jews from all over the world are part of one people. I had visited this museum two decades ago and remembered well the exhibit on synagogues from around the world. I shared with the group the following Yehuda Amichai poem, which he wrote after the original museum opened on the campus of Tel Aviv University.

Poem Without an End

Inside the brand-new museum
there’s an old synagogue.
Inside the synagogue
is me.
Inside me
my heart.
Inside my heart
a museum.
Inside the museum
a synagogue,
inside it
me,
inside me
my heart,
inside my heart
a museum

We did not want to leave the exhibits of Ethiopian olim offering videotaped oral history, a celebration of Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman) at 75, and Shim’s photography- (later known as David Seymour; he is buried in Cedar Park, Paramus. I found the location of his grave and plan to pay respects.)

The second museum we visited was the Israel Museum at the Yitzhak Rabin Center. For almost two hours, we were guided through Rabin’s life, both personal and professional, Israel’s history and world history, all wrapped into one amazing, complicated story.

On our drive along the Tel Aviv promenade we were blessed with a breathtaking sunset over the Mediterranean.

We ate dinner “in the dark” and watched the play Not by Bread Alone, with actors who are blind and deaf. The lesson of the play is that we should never assume we can know all about a person because of how they present in the world; we all have dreams.

Monday has been a day spent in the Old City. We began as archaeologists, doing artifact sifting from the Second Temple period. We found pottery, blown glass, and bones. Our guide did not enter into the politics of the mindless bulldozing at the site of the Temple in the 90’s. She simply said, “Excavation without supervision,  whether legal or illegal, is immoral.”

We continued on to the Jewish Quarter. Our fantastic guide, Nir Ofer (veterans of Rabbi Scheff’s November volunteer missions might remember him) said, “Look at the Western Wall. In reality, we see only  stones. And so, if we feel anything spiritually, it must come from within us. Thus the Wall epitomizes a religion that taught the world to worship a God we cannot see.”

As always, we shopped in the Cardo, the main shopping avenue of ancient Jerusalem, and found gifts, jewelry and tallitot.

The tour of the Western Wall Tunnels was challenging but enlightening – so much history in Jerusalem, so little time.

In the evening, we watched the sound and light show at the Tower of David and were able to use today’s Hebrew word of the day most appropriately: magniv (wonderful)!

With love from Jerusalem,

Rabbi Paula Mack Drill

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