Newsletter 61: A Visit to Yad Vashem
There are various ways of touring Yad Vashem; one can take a resident guide, one can rent earphones, one can go on one's own reading the explanations, looking at the exhibits, listening to witnesses or I can guide tourists around.
All the methods excepting the last take about 2 hours. The other day I was with a group who only had 1 hour to spare to see the museum so I chose to do the guiding and explained only a small part of the exhibition.
One could divide the exhibition into 7 themes: 1.The rise of National Socialism to power in Germany. 2. The propaganda methods employed by them to convince the German People that the Jews were subhuman and as such were preventing the German Race from fulfilling their destiny of being super humans and therefore need to be removed from German society. 3. The 2nd World War. 4. The formation of Ghettos. 5. The final solution (the gas chambers). 6. The allied liberation of Germany. 7. The search of a safe haven for the survivors.
The first theme contains a section on Christian Anti-Semitism as a propaganda instrument. It explains how Hitler used the same hate arguments used by Christian anti-Semites throughout history.
The second theme shows the contribution which famous Jewish refugees of the holocaust made to culture and science in the USA and other countries that gave them refuge. These were people like Albert Einstein, Max Reinhardt, Martin Buber, Nelly Sachs, Kurt Weil and thousands of others. Actually the Nazi government revoked the German citizenship of about 40000 leading Jewish scientists, philosophers, artists etc. Many of them succeeded in fleeing already by the end of the 1930's.
They were like seeds and animal species scattered from one part of the world to another by natural disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes etc. The holocaust was a disaster that scattered human minds.
This week some tourists from England asked to see a garden planted in memory of a young man killed tragically in a fire several years ago.
We found the garden in the grounds of a school for deprived and maltreated children, known as Newe Michael in Pardes Hana.
Hava Levine who showed us around, has devoted 20 years of her life to these children. The task is so great: normally such children would never manage to reach any kind of effective level of participation in decent society. They would turn out to be drop outs and criminals. Here they find love and begin to flourish and grow like beautiful flowers.
People like Hava are few. If only we had more people like her. There are so many children in the world that have bad treatment at home and turn into criminal types because they never find the love they lacked at home. It seems the battle is overwhelming.
Some of these children, too few, are lucky to end up in the care of Hava and they grow up to be happy, constructive members of society instead of sad, angry people who bring destruction on society.. The whole world benefits from work like this.
The children need visitors to befriend them and to show them love. Any tourist visiting Israel can do this by visiting Newe Michael for a short while or even stopping here for a meal with the kids.We ate spaghetti Bolognese with the kids. We enjoyed the food and the kids were thrilled that visitors were having lunch with them. It was great.
People who are interested can contact Hava at 052 4239545 or take a look at their website http://www.nevemichael.com/.
I discovered that there was a performance of Rossini's rarely performed opera "Journey to Reims" on Friday in Tel Aviv. This was great because I had planned to go on Thursday evening but work kept me away.
It was like an opera should be full of stories of minor casualties that are treated like great tragedies. The music suited the mood and was beautiful; full of different feelings; tinkling bells for happiness in tracing a lost suitcase, the trumpet for triumph in hearing that the journey is about to begin, the fiddle for mournfulness that there's another delay and so on.
I have a confession to make: I've gone back to eating meat. After the opera I had chicken wings at KFC. I hadn't had this for a long time as I was vegetarian. Now I've gone back to eating meat etc. I still feel very sad about the treatment of animals in the food production system, and my return to meat is just a matter of taste; I simply love meat.
Last night the tourist couple I was guiding invited me to dinner and let me choose the restaurant. On Avishai's advice I chose Arcadia, reputed to be the best restaurant in Israel. I didn't see the bill but I guess that it was about $200 (US) for three people. The food was great; I accompanied the husband in devouring a giant sirloin and his wife munched some lamb in rosemary sauce.
Naturally we discussed Anapolis about which I am very optimistic. I explained to my hosts that it's all about getting rid of Hamas, Hizbulla and the Iranians. The Arabs want them out of the game and the only one to do the job is Israel and the Palestinians. This is why the Arabs are going to try hard to find a solution to the conflict between us and the Palestinians.
After the opera on Friday I spent a few hours having fun with Ophir, my 10 month old grandson. He takes after his grandpa and is on constant hikes through the various rooms of the house to see how things work. He crawled under the table and discovered that he bumps his head when he stands up under it. He's a really cute little guy.
Wishing you a great No News Day